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Telephone Helplines

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 97W, on telephone helplines, how many calls were made to each helpline charged at national rate in the last year for which records are available; and what the average duration was of these calls. [105878]

Detailed information of this kind is only available for some of the telephone helplines covered by my previous answer.

For three of the national rate helplines operated by the Rural Payments Agency, during the year April 2002 to March 2003 some 54,000 calls were received with the majority of calls having durations of between 1 and 2.25 minutes.

The Pets helpline (also charged at national rate) averages some 6,700 national rate calls per month with typical duration estimated as 10–15 minutes.

Corresponding information could be obtained for the other helplines covered in my previous answer only at a disproportionate cost.