All non-geographic telephone numbers should give a geographic alternative
Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The use of telephone numbers which have prefixes such as 0845, 0844, 0870 were introduced to reduce the cost of making calls outside one's geographical area to national companies and organisations to a local call rate.
Nowadays, most people have mobile phones or landlines which have inclusive call packages which do not include calls to non-geographic numbers, thus meaning that the original intention of these numbers is no longer valid and calls are often more expensive than local calls.
Government agencies such as Job Centre Plus use a range of these numbers. The less well off of their client base are largely dependent on pay as you go mobile phones and are charged at a higher rate than anybody calling from a landline.
It should either be mandatory for any published non-geographical telephone number to be accompanied by a geographical, i.e. 01 or 02, number or for mobile phone providers to include calls to non-geographical numbers in their call packages.
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