Op-Ed: This is yet another news story relating to DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith and his heartless way of working.
Under alleged reasons of austerity measures thousands of people who have to rely on benefits temporarily or for extended periods of time are having already meagre incomes slashed; and when you have next to nothing to live on every penny counts.
So why would the DWP, department of work and pensions, opt to use a 0345 number for claimants who need to call in when it costs those same people 45p a minute from a mobile or 12p a minute from a landline?
This has been departmental practice for some time but is being highlighted again as the DWP rolls out its so called Universal Credit which replace some benefits. We wonder if in time it will replace all so-called benefits including pensions.
Having rebranded social security which we all pay into as some sort of free welfare handout it is work in progress for DWP Tory boss Iain Duncan Smith.
In March 2015 the Daily Mirror reported that in spite of government promises to phase out expensive 0845 numbers claimants were still getting a raw deal. certain they know his identity.
Ministers pledged two years ago to phase out the expensive 0845 numbers for people dialling government lines.
In June 2013 a website touting 0345 numbers as something great wrote:
Today we can confirm that the Department of Work and Pensions have officially adopted 0345 telephone numbers for their customer service networks.
But that whop-di-doo is misleading.
What about customers who do not have a BT landline or mobile phone.
Yes there are still plenty.
And who is making money out of BT we wonder?
Here in Kingston-Upon-Hull local telephone service Kingston Communications is not part of BT. It is an independent service that was the pride of the city until a sell off some years back.
The local council thought it could join the dot com bubble and make some money and local people embraced the news and dived into becoming shareholders. The dot com bubble burst and KC struggles to survive these days though still offers a great service.
And after all the Tory promises on phone charges the Daily Mirror reports this week "Anyone trying to claim Universal Credit will be forced to call an 0345 number, incurring charges of up to 45p a minute from a mobile or 12p a minute from a landline."
And as we all know a minute is soon gobbled up as you wait in a queue on the line, listen to brain killing messages often trying to direct you to their website, or music either aimed at soothing or angering all the time knowing your money is running out.
Perhaps it is time public servants realised they are just that and that includes overpaid overstuffed Tory ministers.
Iain Duncan Smith continues to refuse to set up a 0800 free phone number for UC claimants and the reasoning behind that is not good news.
You may draw your own conclusions.
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