Scottish independence: ‘Crack down on nuisance calls’

It has been estimated that, in an average month, 85 per cent of people in the UK receive an unsolicited call. Picture: PA
It has been estimated that, in an average month, 85 per cent of people in the UK receive an unsolicited call. Picture: PA
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AN INDEPENDENT Scotland will crack down on nuisance callers, SNP ministers have declared in a fresh attempt to show the benefits of a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said an independent Scottish Government would impose far tougher sanctions on unscrupulous firms which sanction sales cold calls.

He claimed independence was required for such action because the UK government’s regime was far too lax.

Swinney said the Scottish Government was examining how it could introduce a mandatory code of business practice which would give a regulator the power to slap fines on rogue firms.

There could also be a legal requirement on firms to prove they have consent for carrying out cold calls.

It has been estimated that, in an average month, 85 per cent of people in the UK receive an unsolicited call and almost one in ten of them have up to 50 unwanted calls.

Swinney said: “Research shows the high volume of unwanted calls we receive has left almost 60 per cent of people too intimidated to answer the telephone in their own homes. This is particularly true for older and vulnerable people.

“This is not acceptable. We want to cut off nuisance calls for good, but the Scottish Information Commissioner currently has no jurisdiction to intervene.

“Current plans by the UK government do not go far enough to protect people from the stress and inconvenience of cold calling.

“We must take action to stop unscrupulous companies continuing to target the vulnerable.

“An independent Scotland with decision-making powers would better serve and protect consumers through regulation, tough enforcement and working with industry to tackle the problem.”

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “We understand the desire for a simpler, more focused system.

“Whatever form it ultimately takes, we want to see regulators that are proactive and that put consumers first.”