Previous SectionIndexHome Page








Broseley Leisure Centre

10 pm

Mr. Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con): I present a petition on behalf of the users of Broseley leisure centre, which

To lie upon the Table.
19 Dec 2005 : Column 1678

May Avenue (Castle Point)

10.1 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Con): Like many communities in south Essex, Castle Point faces a new plague. We are becoming flat-land, with good houses demolished to make way for massive blocks of flats that harm neighbours, do nothing for the street scene and place our already over-burdened infrastructure under even greater pressures. The drive of the Office of the Deputy Prime for more building and yet higher densities is causing that, and it is damaging our communities. It must stop.

The petition states:

To lie upon the Table.

Essex Police Force

Bob Spink: I am privileged to present a separate petition that, like my early-day motion 1010, seeks to resist the Government's drive to replace our local police force with a merged, more remote body that, if the excellent survey by the Evening Echo is anything to go by, is very much against the wishes of the people of Essex.

The petition states:

To lie upon the Table.

Thundersley (Toilet Facilities)

Bob Spink: My third petition is again quite separate. I present it on behalf of the people in Thundersley in Castle Point, who wish the provision of a decent set of public toilets in Thundersley village to be maintained. One of the measures of a decent borough council is that it maintains good facilities, particularly for the elderly.

The petition states:

19 Dec 2005 : Column 1679

To lie upon the Table.

Gloucestershire Constabulary

10.4 pm

Mr. Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con): This is a petition from the residents of Gloucestershire, supported by my hon. Friends the Members for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) and for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) and the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Martin Horwood). It has been signed by 1,037 residents of Gloucestershire and the shadow Home Secretary.

The petition states:

To lie upon the Table.
19 Dec 2005 : Column 1680

Internet (Rogue Dialling)

Motion made and question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Kevin Brennan.]

10.5 pm

Mr. Bob Blizzard (Waveney) (Lab): After a lengthy and, dare I say it, extended debate about police force boundaries, I want to focus on the victims of a particular crime—we always say that we want to put victims first. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring to the attention of the House the appalling situation that 19 households in my constituency have experienced as victims of what has become known as internet rogue dialling. I also want to discuss the dismal treatment that those constituents have received as BT customers and highlight the regulatory mess, from which we are now emerging with the help of the Minister for Industry and the Regions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Alun Michael), but which still leaves my constituents and thousands more all over the country as out-of-pocket victims who feel that they have been living a nightmare.

Although there have been various problems associated with premium rate service abuse, I am discussing one specific type of scam—for "scam", read "crime". It did not involve the victims making any judgments or misjudgments while using the internet, and it did not involve misleading online advertisements or offers that might have lured people into such a predicament. All my constituents did was open their telephone bill and find charges, usually for hundreds of pounds, for calls that they never made. The largest charge was for more than £800, and those people can prove that they never made those calls.

Ofcom accepts that that is what happened, and it has provided me with a briefing for this debate:

The rogue calls were usually to an obscure, faraway place, in the case of most of my constituents, the island of Tuvalu, which I confess that I had never heard of until I took up this matter, and a wave of complaints was made to BT, the police and the regulators. The matter was highlighted in East Anglia by BBC "Look East", but other victims have subsequently contacted me from all over the country.

BT has also provided me with a brief, which states:

It is clear that BT tended to blame the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services.
19 Dec 2005 : Column 1681

The real problem was that whoever people complained to, BT said, in effect, "It's not me, guv—it's not my fault." One of my constituents, Mr. Gasson, received a bill for more than £600-worth of calls that he never made. He spoke to BT and then contacted the police, who referred him back to BT. Since then, he has been pursued for payment and there have been heaps of correspondence between him, myself and BT. Today, he has been cut off for not paying for something that he never bought.

Next Section IndexHome Page