Drew Hendry MP has welcomed moves by the UK Government to clampdown on nuisance calls by changing the law following a campaign led by the SNP in Westminster.
The MP, who sat on the Digital Economy Bill Committee which looked at the issue, says he regularly receives letters from constituents who have been affected by nuisance calls, causing stress and worry.
SNP MP Patricia Gibson had previously introduced the ‘Unsolicited Marketing Communications (Company Directors): Ten Minute Rule Bill’ to Parliament on 13 September and included provisions to hold company bosses personally responsible for nuisance calls, by giving the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the power to take action against named company directors found to have made unsolicited marketing calls in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
Following the debate in Westminster, UK Ministers have now agreed to the SNP proposal to end the scourge of nuisance calls by legislating for company directors to be fined up to £500,000 each if they are found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. Prior to this, only businesses were liable for fines, many of which try to escape paying nuisance call penalties by declaring bankruptcy – a practice known as “phoenixing”- only to open up again under a new name.
Commenting on the success of the campaign Drew Hendry MP said:
“Nuisance callers cause significant distress to people in their homes, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people.
“Some of the stories I hear from constituents are horrifying, the impact these calls have on their home life equating to harassment. This is why, my SNP colleagues and I have vigorously pursued a change to legislation and I am delighted that the Government will now introduce the measures proposed in the bill presented by my SNP colleague Patricia Gibson MP.
“This will be an important step in tackling nuisance calls, as company directors cannot now escape the consequences of their unlawful actions and I look forward to these changes coming into force from spring 2017.”
Darren Shirley, Campaigns Manager of ‘Which?’ has described it as ‘a massive victory’
By making Directors personally responsible the legislation will help to stop rogue traders from avoiding the rules by simply closing down one company and starting again with no personal loss.