INCREASED ACTION TO PROTECT VULNERABLE RESIDENTS FROM NUISANCE CALLS

Vulnerable people in Falkirk district are among those set to benefit from increased efforts to tackle nuisance and scam callers.

The Scottish Government has made another £75,000 available to install call-blocking technology in the homes of those who are most at risk. It follows initial funding of £50,000 announced last month as part of the Nuisance Calls Action Plan and will bring the number of Scots protected from unwanted calls to more than 1200.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “This additional funding is great news for people across Falkirk district who are affected by this issue. While nuisance calls are irritating for most people, it’s the elderly and vulnerable who are most likely to be left distressed or out of pocket by these callers.

“Surveys have shown cold calls discourage 70 per cent of people from answering their landline, while 40 per cent have felt intimidated by the calls. Giving people the protecting offered by this call-blocking technology is part of the Scottish Government’s wider strategy to tackle this widespread problem.

“Since we established the Nuisance Calls Commission last year, the situation across Scotland has started to improve. Last month, 81 per cent of Scots received a nuisance call on their landline, down from 91 per cent in 2015 – and we’ll continue our efforts to curb these calls and support vulnerable constituents.”

Trading Standards Scotland will distribute the call-blocking units, working with social work, healthcare and charitable agencies to ensure help goes where it’s most needed.
Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who announced the extra £75,000 funding, added: “The power to legislate in this area is reserved to the UK Government.

The Scottish Government shares the frustration of those affected that there has been a lack of legislative progress to date, but we will continue to press UK ministers to do more to stop nuisance calls.

“This includes exploring a model which automatically opts people out of unwanted calls and greater powers to prosecute those companies who are found to be responsible.”