If you’ve ever found yourself cursing at the hold music on a customer service helpline, as your hard-earned cash silently ticks away thanks to the number’s high call charges, this will be welcome news to you.
The Government has revealed a draft proposal to ban premium rates on most such helpline numbers, meaning companies such as PC World, Argos, Royal Mail, Phones4U and energy suppliers will have to change their rates to ‘geographical’ (or normal land line number) rates.
According to The Telegraph, consumers spend nearly £2 billion a year on calls to premium rate numbers – yes, you read that right; TWO BILLION pounds!
Airlines, train line operators and banks will be exempt from the premium rates ban, though, so bear that in mind.
Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband, has said that if his party wins the next election he plans to introduce a new ‘living wage’ of at least £7.45 per hour, as part of his ‘One Nation’ vision for Britain.
Currently, the minimum wage in the UK sits at £6.19 per hour for those over 21, £4.98 for those over 18, and £3.68 for 16- and 17-year-olds. As such, Labour’s proposed ‘living wage’ would represent a significant increase for many workers.
The proposal would aim to make this new rate the norm across the UK, with government contracts being accessible only to companies that pay the living wage, and the ‘naming and shaming’ of companies who do not.