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Departmental Telephone Services

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. (246980)

From information held centrally, there are 38 telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate(s) applicable to 0845 numbers—four for core-DEFRA, 14 for DEFRA's executive agencies and 20 for non-departmental public bodies. None of the numbers are revenue sharing.

Members of the public using these numbers are charged by their telephone providers at their agreed rates. On 8 January 2009, BT announced that its consumer customers will no longer pay these charges from 16 January 2009. As from this date 0845 numbers will be included in their calls packages. Those not on a calls package and business customers will continue to pay the applicable or agreed 0845 rates.