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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2006, Official Report, column 1891W, on incoming phone calls, (1) how many calls encountering an engaged tone were to (a) tax credit helplines and (b) other helplines; and if he will make a statement; (83329)

(2) how many calls to HM Revenue and Customs helplines in 2006 received an engaged tone; what the reasons were for the proportion of engaged calls as a percentage of total calls; and if he will make a statement.

The following table shows the number of calls receiving an engaged tone for (a) the tax credit helpline and (b) other helplines operated as part of HMRC’s centrally managed Contact Centre Network.

Calls receiving an engaged tone1, 2005-06



Tax credits



Other helplines



1 Call attempts where the caller was played an engaged tone.


Figures in thousands rounded to the nearest thousand.

Engaged tones occur mainly at the busiest periods when callers constantly hit the redial button on modern telephone handsets.

Engaged tone figures for 2006 will be available in the new year.