Scotland politics

Holyrood debates nuisance calls and texts

Scottish Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur has told MSPs the menace of unsolicited calls from companies make the public feel "under seige".

The MSP for Orkney said it was time to give people the "tools to fight back".

Speaking in a members debate he secured on the issue, Mr McArthur called for the Information Commissioner's powers to be strengthened.

He said the rules should cover all forms of unsolicited contact, including unwanted marketing calls.

The communications regulator Ofcom has estimated that in Scotland each person is subjected to about 50 nuisance calls each year.

Mr McArthur claimed that even after joining the Telephone Preference Service, which is supposed to curb obtrusive calls, some people still receive them.

More than 11,000 people have signed a petition in support of the campaign, which was launched by Mike Crockart MP in August this year.

Speaking during the debate at the Scottish parliament, Mr McArthur voiced his concern over the level of fraud involved: "Three million people across the UK will be scammed out of £800 each this year."

He said poor regulation was "failing to address" the problem and suggested a one stop shop for complaints could work.

He added: "The bottom line is that people shouldn't have to put up with this menace, it is clear the measures in place to shield people are not up to the job, it is time for the Information Commisioner's powers to be strengthened, it cannot continue, it must stop."

The regulator Ofcom has published a guide for consumers on how to deal with unwanted calls or texts.

The guide has been written in collaboration with the Information Commissioner's Office, the Office of Fair Trading, the Ministry of Justice and the Telephone Preference Service.

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