Getting tough on nuisance calls will win votes but action needs to be measured

Within Labour and Conservative HQ the quest for the ‘silver bullet’ policy that will send the former back to office and the latter to majority Government will intensify in the coming months. 

Russell Parsons

Labour believes it has its line in the cost of living crisis and freeze on energy prices while the Tories will be looking to hone their economic growth message.

However, I can save party strategies the time and effort right now.  There is one sure-fire way of shoring up an election victory right. Tackling the scourge of the nation, in particular the voting nation – nuisance callers.

I admit, I exaggerate its important as an issue, but not by that much. A conversation with a friend the other day was interrupted three times by silent calls and subsequent apoplexy on his part. A recent discourse with a family member was littered with expletives describing the perpetrators.  Both are voters and I’d wager their problems are typical.  

Politicians know this. They are inundated with complaints during their constituency surgeries and in their parliamentary inboxes. 

This explains moves in the past week by both MPs and Government. Firstly, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey told Marketing Week the Government will launch a consultation into making nuisance call regulations easier to enforce and is changing rules around consent for direct marketing later this month. This in the same week the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nuisance Calls, chaired by Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart, made 16 strongly worded recommendations to tackle rogue practitionersThese two developments come ahead of the unveiling of a separate Parliamentary Select Committee report on nuisance calls will also be unveiled this month.

It appears that all parties of all political persuasions want to get in on the act and take action to demonstrate to their constituents they are taking potential voters’ concerns seriously.

Quite right.  The ultimate response needs to be measured, however. The problem is the companies flouting the rules – ignoring the wishes of those registered on the Telephone Preference Service, for example – or those poorly targeting prospects and adopting aggressive sales techniques.

The rush to get tough and perhaps win votes should not spill to draconic, prescriptive rules on consent or a ban in all but name. 

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