Imposing fines on telephone marketing companies that plague members of the public with nuisance calls will help drive bad behaviour out of the industry, the Justice Secretary has said, as ministers draw up plans to penalise offending companies.
Chris Grayling said: "The Claims Management Regulator already takes tough action against companies which break the rules, suspending and closing down rogue firms, but now these fines will give us an extra weapon to drive bad behaviour out of the industry."
The Ministry of Justice will tomorrow launch a consultation on whether firms that break Claims Management Regulation Unit rules should face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover.
The Culture Secretary has called to halt nuisance calls from telemarketing companies. Maria Miller is to launch a consultation this year on lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take action against offending companies.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is also consulting on hefty fines for claims management companies that exploit information from unsolicited calls and texts. Ms Miller said:
Ministers are drawing up plans to make it easier to penalise telemarketing companies that plague members of the public with unwanted calls.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller is to launch a consultation this year on lowering the threshold for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take action against offending companies.
Despite an increase in the maximum fine it can impose to £500,000, the ICO still received 120,310 complaints relating to unsolicited marketing calls made between April and November last year.
Currently the calls must cause "substantial stress" or "substantial damage" for the ICO to impose sanctions, but Mrs Miller said the consultation will consider whether there should be a lower threshold.
Text messaging is now the most popular form of daily communication between British adults, new figures show.
After years of increased use, the amount of time British adults spend speaking on a mobile phone has dropped for the first time.
But the average Briton now sends 200 texts a month, Ofcom's Communications Market Report found, more than double the figure of four years ago.
Under plans to extend the amount of information available to police, local authorities will not be able to get any of the new powers under the draft Communications Bill.
Local authorities will also be stripped of their powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to access data relating to phone calls, such as the subscriber's name.
They will be able to apply to Parliament to have these powers reinstated at a later date, but will be barred from accessing the new powers related to emails and internet use.
Public bodies will not automatically get access to the new powers, but will be able to apply for them at a later date.