Millions of people are being ripped off by government premium rate phone lines, it was claimed today.
The Department for Transport alone raised £2.5million over two years from calls branded a ‘telephone tax’.
Labour MP John Healey warned many of the premium-rate numbers were imposed on the ‘sick, elderly and vulnerable usually on fixed, low incomes’.
Almost two thirds of the government’s 371 lines called by the public are high cost 0844 and 0845 numbers or premium (09) numbers. The numbers cost up to 41p per minute to call.
‘Members of the public are subsidising the government’s phone bills to the tune of millions of pounds and phone companies are making a fortune.
Helplines for the government’s new benefits – Personal Independence Payment and Universal Credit – will also be 0845 numbers.