Osborne told to fess up over £3.5m rogue call fund

osborne new 2As Chancellor George Osborne puts the finishing touches to this week’s Budget, he is being pressed to explain what has happened to the £3.5m fund he announced this time last year to help slash the number of so-called nuisance calls.
At the time, Osborne made a big play of the funding, which he claimed would be available for businesses to develop new technology to protect vulnerable people from the harassment, as well as launch a major marketing campaign to raise awareness of how to combat the issue.
Osborne also pledged to introduce a new law so senior executives would be held to account if their company failed to comply with telemarketing rules.
Officials at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport ran a competition to seek the best ideas to put a plan into practice. But the Government has yet to deliver any solutions.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Nuisance calls are a modern menace and we’ve been campaigning for Government action. One year on and the Government now needs to explain exactly how the money has been spent and when the long overdue awareness campaign will begin.”
In response, a DCMS spokesman claimed the law had been tightened up – in April last year – but this was already on the cards way before the Chancellor’s statement.
He added: “Tackling nuisance calls is a significant concern and remains a priority. We’ve already made it easier for the regulator to issue heavy fines when companies break the rules, and plan to force marketing companies to display their caller ID.
“We’ll shortly be offering free call blocking devices to those most at risk as well as trialling innovative technology to help combat the problem.”

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