‘I’ll make them pay’ Top minister vows to clamp down on nuisance cold calls

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Science Secretary Michelle Donelan has vowed to call time on the “plague” of nuisance phone calls, texts and pop-ups with massive fines for companies responsible.

In a move which has signalled that the government has lost patience with predatory companies to self-regulate and end pestering of people in their homes, Ms Donelan today has announced that she will be bringing in new measures.

The details will be contained in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill published today.

While complaints about nuisance calls are down by 57 percent this year, Ms Donelan believes that at around 60,000 they are still far too high.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express, Ms Donelan said: “I am calling time on companies that plague the British public with nuisance calls and texts by hitting them where it hurts – their bank balance.

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“We all know too well how annoying it is to get unsolicited calls, pressure selling double glazing, help with a PPI claim or an unwanted phone upgrade, so the new laws I am bringing forward will put a stop to it.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued more than £2,440,000 in fines against companies responsible for nuisance calls, texts and emails since April 2022.

But the minister made it clear that she does not believe that current sanctions for abuses are tough enough and she wants to go much further.

Ms Donelan said: “When they come into force next year, these laws will massively increase the fines these companies face, from the current £500,000 to an eye-watering £17.5million.

“My message is clear: bombard the British public with nuisance calls, and you can expect to pay the price.”

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In her new brief of being the minister for the internet, Ms Donelan also warned that she believes more should be done to stop people from being bombarded with adverts as they browse websites.

She told the Daily Express: “Another frustration we all feel are cookie pop-ups which we have to mind-numbingly click every time we go on a website.

“I believe people should have a choice over the never-ending pop ups they are bombarded with, which is why the changes I am introducing will let people take control over what they see in the future.

“This is all part of our landmark Data Protection Bill, which will move to the next stage in the House of Commons today.”

She added: “These are just two areas which will deliver noticeable change so people can go about their daily lives without being bothered by nuisance calls and constant online pop ups.

“These laws are rooted in common sense, ensuring that consumers are protected and given the freedom to choose what they see online.”

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