Mike Crockart: Bill will start pest call fightback

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LAST month, 85 per cent of us received a nuisance call of one type or another, with some unlucky souls receiving as many as 50 calls in the course of four weeks.

These are the findings of a Which? Report into the issue and it certainly explains why so many people have already joined my campaign against nuisance calls at www.no2nuisancecalls.net.

So when I was drawn in 11th place in the Private Members Ballot to bring a Bill of my own to parliament, it was an easy decision what to do.

Later this week I will be introducing The Communication (Unsolicited Telephone Calls and Texts) Bill at Westminster to attempt to end, or at least lessen, this nuisance.

It’s no secret that I want the whole system changed to create one regulator with one simple point of contact supported by one government department rather than the mess of regulations which allow so many companies to flout the rules just now.

But there are many things that we can do right now to make it better and my Bill brings some of those together.

It includes proposals to standardise the language used when asking for consent to use your phone number to ensure that proper 
consent is given.

It requires companies to demonstrate that they can prove they have that consent rather than the onus being on the regulator to prove that they don’t.

And it puts an expiry date on the use of that data to prevent your number being sold on forever if you forget to tick (or untick) a box!

It will also reduce the burden of proof for the Information Commissioner’s Office to only have to prove that “nuisance” has been caused rather than the present “distress”.

Taken together, they may not solve the problem but they may protect the housebound and vulnerable in society from what we might regard as a 
nuisance but they regard as much, much worse.