Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Rip-off 0845 Helplines.

with 26 comments

Premium Rates for Claimants.

One of the many annoying things about benefits is that when you make inquiries you now have to use the phone: there’s nobody you can see in person.

Transfer not made?


Query about your claim.


Housing Benefit claim worry.


Council Tax (now we all to pay a percentage, a cut in our benefits nobody seems to talk about).


Many unemployed people do not have a land-line and use their mobiles.

This can often mean a long-wait at a high charge.

Now we know that these prices still provide a nice little earner for those offering the ‘service’…..

Welfare Weekly reports today.

Millions of Britain’s poorest and most vulnerable people are being “fleeced” by rip-off 0845 helplines, it has been reported today.

According to a report by the Daily Mirror, figures uncovered by Labour MP Frank Field show than pensioners, carers and benefit claimants are still being charged for higher rate calls, despite promises from the government two years ago that it would phase out 0845 helpline numbers.

Since 2012, the Pension Service has received around 12 million 0845 prefix calls, including 2.5 million over the last year.

2.9 million 0845 calls were made to the Carer’s Allowance helpline, while more than 530,000 people called for advice about Winter Fuel Payments and 360,439 higher rate calls were made about Bereavement Benefits.

0845 calls can cost anywhere from between 1p and 12p a minute from a landline and from 5p to 40p if calling from a mobile phone.

Callers spent a combined total of £56 million from using 0845 helplines in 2012 alone.

Frank Field said: “At the very point in their lives when millions of people are most in need, they are being fleeced by the Government and the phone companies.

“Ministers promised over a year ago that these rip-off lines would be scrapped. Might they now sanction such a move as quickly as they sanction claimants?”

The Cabinet Office issued guidance in 2013, stating it was “inappropriate” for “vulnerable and low-income groups” to pay “substantial charges for accessing core public services”.

Two years later the Department for Work and Pensions is still “in the process of replacing all its 0845 number prefixes in use for its national helplines”.

A DWP spokesperson added: “We introduced 0345 numbers for DWP national helpline service numbers – this is alongside an 0845 option, which can currently be cheaper for some dependent on their telephony provider.”


Written by Andrew Coates

March 23, 2015 at 11:51 am

26 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Lindas Blog and commented:
    This is yet another example of or Governments idea of
    ‘A Fair Society’ Bo,,,,cks


    March 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

  2. Driving licences will go paperless from June as the government continues to press ahead with plans to take more service online.

    All of your details – and the details of Britain’s approximately 30 million motorists – will be compiled on an online database that you will be able to access. The decision is part of the government’s “Red Tape Challenge”.



    March 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    • You can already check your driving details on the .gov website if you have a photocard licence. All fine and dandy so far, but is who or whatever else this ‘portal’ may be opened up to in the future that is the question – as well as employers, car rental firms no doubt, and more sinisterly the DWP/Jobcentre…

      Lisa the Ice Road Trucker

      March 23, 2015 at 8:14 pm

  3. I posted this immediately because, like I imagine most of us, have spent a lot of wasted time on phone calls for various things, ranging from Council Tax to the DWP.

    Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2015 at 1:09 pm

  4. It is ironic that on the phone booth outside the Job Centre their is an advertisement “Too claim Benefits 0845” on the otherside “Report a Benefit cheat 0800” and of course no phones in the Job Centre.


    March 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm

  5. Further info on this subject

    Did some digging to see if there are any work arounds :

    from ATOS Miracles :

    General benefits no.: – (Income support, ESA, Job Seekers allowance etc.) 0345 6088545
    Carers Allowance 0845 6084321

    To apply for PIP 0800 917 2222

    PIP Processing Centre no. (To check on PIP Claim progress): 0845 850 3322

    ATOS: 0300 3300121

    DLA is still 08457 123456

    At bottom of comments:

    Mick Collingwood Sorry but most of these comments ate incorrect and misleading. I studied these systems quite intensely for an assignment.

    On average – £1.24 per 10-minute daytime call vs. £0.51 for the same call to a 03xx or geographic number.

    · From a public payphone – £2.40 vs. £0.60

    · From a PAYG mobile – £4.15 vs. £1.65

    · From a contract mobile – £2.00 vs. 0

    · From a Virgin Media landline – £1.12 vs. 0

    These are averages so they may differ depending on your provider. Needless to say this is in fact a good thing and was the result of intensive campaigning initially because of HMRCs use of 0845 numbers.
    3 March 2014 at 07:29


    … superceded by the move to 03 numbers.
    Posted by Ian01 on Sun, 15/02/2015 – 17:33

    Now that the vast majority of government departments have moved their 0845 lines to either the matching 0345 number or to a brand new 0300 number there’s no longer much of a need to go looking for alternative numbers.

    Every landline and mobile network charges calls to 03 numbers exactly the same as whatever the caller pays to call 01 and 02 numbers. Increasingly, that’s simply a monthly fee covering all such inclusive calls rather than any sort of charge per call or per minute.

    Those that fail to complete the move to 03 numbers by 1 July 2015 will be forced by the new Ofcom rules that come into force on that date to declare the Service Charge which they and their telecoms provider benefit from when their 084 or 087 number is called.

    Ofcom’s ukcalling.info website outlines the new charging system for 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers. Non-geographic 03 numbers offer the same technical features as 08 and 09 numbers but without imposing the additional costs on callers.

    Also for compleeness:

    A long list of phone numbers


    Not copying here as quite long and dont want to clutter


    March 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    • 0800 numbers are a similar problem for most mobile users – chargeable.
      On O2 some 0800 ‘benefit numbers’ and childline type numbers are actually free.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 23, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      • …………as they are on GiffGaff (including 0500 numbers) which runs on the O2 network.


        March 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      • Calls to 080 numbers are free from landlines but, at the moment, are generally charged from mobiles, but with some important exceptions.

        Calls to numbers starting 0808 188 and 0808 80 belong to various charities and are free to call from almost all mobile phones.

        Calls to DWP 0800 numbers are also free to call from most mobile phones. DWP pays extortionate fees to the mobile operators to make that happen.

        Calls to all 080 numbers (but not to 0500 numbers) will become free from all mobile phones on 1 July 2015.


        March 28, 2015 at 8:03 pm

  6. Reblogged this on glynismillward189.

  7. Be prepaired for more of this. so far we have 180.00 fees industrial tribinial fees helps employers treat workers like dogs muck,Trading standards dept non job run by immigrants who cannot enforce the law and fob you off with citizans advice bureugh , a4e, and cdg maximus have power over life and death assisting jobcentreplus in sanctioning people i am looking forward to the next london riots to smash THESE SCUM INTO THE GROUND.Obviously these people have priviliged protection from police not the general public, against mugging ,burglery,assault, theft,fraud. Torys out out out if you dont want this.

    Tony Montana

    March 23, 2015 at 6:21 pm

  8. ken

    March 24, 2015 at 8:25 am

    • “Man who missed appointment due to being at hospital with his partner, who had just had a stillborn child.”

      This is outrageous.

      And that’s only the first one!

      Andrew Coates

      March 24, 2015 at 10:53 am

  9. Welfare-to-Work fraud – it’s just the same down under:

    “A Four Corners investigation has found rorting [defrauding] of the [welfare-to-work] scheme is rampant. Forgery, manipulation of records and the lodgement of inflated claims for fees are widespread.

    The managing director of a private employment agency said: “We had to do the same thing [because] everyone was doing it.”



    March 24, 2015 at 9:40 am

    • Another quote from the above report: “You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there”!

      In Australia, only 1 in 10 people enjoy “better chance” of gaining employment [under Government employment schemes].


      March 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

  10. 0845 numbers and 0345 numbers. If Calling DWP 50p A Minute On Mobiles


    March 24, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    • What About 0300 Numbers. 65p To TV Licensing

      Mr Middlesex

      March 27, 2015 at 9:22 am

    • 03 numbers

      Calls to 03 numbers are always charged at exactly the same rate as whatever you pay for calls to 01 and 02 numbers. If you have inclusive calls to 01 and 02 numbers the allowance will also cover calls to 03 numbers. These rules apply to landlines and to mobiles. Revenue sharing is not permitted with 03 numbers and the call cost is set entirely by the caller’s provider. The additional call handling costs that come with a non-geographic number are paid in full by the called party.

      Most people no longer pay for individual calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Instead, they purchase a monthly allowance, package or bundle of anytime inclusive calls on their landline or on their mobile. Where an inclusive allowance hasn’t been purchased these calls are charged at ‘geographic rate’. If you are paying extortionate rates for calling 01, 02 and 03 numbers then you are on the wrong call plan or with the wrong provider.

      084 and 087 numbers

      Calls to 084 and 087 numbers have a cost that is made up of two parts. One is the charge by the caller’s provider to connect and convey the call. The other is the charge set by the organisation being called and which is used to offset the additional call handling costs they incur for running a non-geographic number. For calls to 0845 numbers this latter charge is currently around 2p per minute and hidden within the overall advertised call price. For other 084 numbers this is up to 7p per minute of which several pence per minute may be paid out as ‘revenue share’.

      From 1 July 2015, the two components will have to be separately declared as the Access and Service charges. You will be able to see how much your phone company is charging to make the call and how much the organisation you are calling is making from the call. Accordingly, in December 2013 (just two weeks after Ofcom pre-announced the new charging scheme) the Cabinet Office told government departments and their agencies to change their 084 and 087 lines over to the matching 034 and 037 numbers or to new 030 numbers. Most have now complied. DWP changed most of their lines in March 2014.

      DWP and 0845

      DWP has retained the old 0845 lines, operating in parallel to the new 0345 numbers, for one simple reason. Callers using BT Weekend or BT Evening and Weekend do not have inclusive calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers in the daytime on weekdays. On those two call plans, BT charges calls to 0845 numbers at a discounted rate which is cheaper than calling an 01, 02 or 03 number. The only other occasion where 0845 is cheaper to call than 01, 02 or 03 is if you are on Vodafone pay as you go. These anomalies may well come to an end on 1 July 2015 at which point DWP will make a decision to switch off the 0845 lines and retain only 03 and 080 numbering.

      0845 numbers vs. 01, 02, 03 numbers

      In those cases where calling 0845 numbers appears to be cheaper than calling 01, 02 and 03 numbers it is likely that those callers are paying too much for all of their calls. They would be much better off if they switched to a deal with inclusive calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers at any time of the day and on any day of the week.

      If you do not have BT Broadband then BT Home Phone Saver offers that for £3 per month more than the cost of BT Line Rental. If you do have BT broadband then BT Anytime is needed. It only takes about 40 to 50 minutes per month of chargeable calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers for the Anytime package to work out cheaper than paying 10p per minute for those calls.

      080 numbers

      Calls to 080 numbers are free from landlines but, at the moment, are generally charged from mobiles, but with some important exceptions. Calls to numbers starting 0808 188 and 0808 80 belong to various charities and are free to call from almost all mobile phones. Calls to DWP 0800 numbers are also free to call from most mobile phones. DWP pays extortionate fees to the mobile operators to make that happen.

      Calls to all 080 numbers (but not to 0500 numbers) will become free from all mobile phones on 1 July 2015. DWP’s bill will massively decrease from that date. This anticipated reduction in their telephony costs has freed up the funds to pay for the introduction of 0300 and 0345 numbers to replace the 0845 numbers.

      Ofcom made 03 numbers available in 2007. Government has been very slow to make the change but it is now happening. Those that fail to move to 03 numbers by 1 July 2015 will be required to declare the Service Charge for their 084 and 087 lines.

      Clear Call Rates

      The new call charging system for 084, 087 and 09 numbers coming into effect on 1 July 2015 is described at ukcalling.info

      Going forward it should become increasing rare to have to call 084 and 087 numbers. Most calls will be to 01, 02 and 03 numbers within an inclusive allowance or to 080 numbers at no cost to the caller. It is important that callers make sure they are on the best deal for calling 01, 02 and 03 numbers.

      It is also important to check the official website of whoever you are calling to make sure you have the right number. Many organisations have moved to new numbers in the last year or so. It is pointless and potentially costly to call the 084 or 087 number printed on old paperwork. There’s a good chance there’s now a cheaper 03 number available.

      The NHS

      NHS GP practices, NHS dental practices and NHS opticians are largely banned from using 084, 087 or 09 numbers. They should be using 01, 02 and 03 numbers.

      Retailers, traders and passenger transport companies

      New regulations came into force on 13 June 2014 requiring post sales helpines used by retailers, traders and passenger transport services to use 01, 02, 03 and 080 numbers.

      Financial Services

      The FCA will shortly publish regulation banning the use of 084 and 087 numbers by banks and insurance companies. They will have to provide 01, 02, 03 and 080 numbers.

      Local rate

      A distinct ‘local rate’ (a cheaper rate for a local call) for calls to 01 and 02 numbers ceased to exist in 2004. This is when the price difference between local and non-local calls was scrapped and callers moved on to call plans with inclusive allowances.

      Calls to 084 and 087 numbers are generally non-inclusive and charged at a different rate to calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers. Calls to 084 and 087 numbers must never be described as, or imply, ‘local rate’, ‘lo-call’, ‘low call rate’ or ‘national rate’. All of those terms are misleading. Advertising Standards issued a note about this in September 2005.


      March 28, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      • Thanks for that information Ian.


        March 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    • I have only a pay as you go mobile phone (no landline) and my provider charges 40p per minute for calls to 0300 and 0345 numbers.

      Simon N

      March 30, 2015 at 10:32 am

      • If you are paying 40p per minute for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers you are being ripped off by your provider.

        Just 50 minutes of calls is costing you £20.

        You need to change to a different tariff or to a different mobile network. The sooner the better.

        There are much better deals out there.

        Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and others charge 10p per minute or less for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers.

        Network Three charges only 3p per minute for calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers.

        Better value for money can often be gained by buying an inclusive call bundle or bolt-on. These usually last for one month.

        Depending on the network, £10 will get you between 100 and 500 minutes. This is equivalent to 10p to 2p per minute.

        Even if you use only 100 minutes of the allowance and waste the rest you have effectively spent 10p per minute.

        If you are a very low user, a £5 bundle will get you between 100 and 250 minutes. This is equivalent to 5p to 2p per minute.

        Even if you use only 50 minutes of the allowance and waste the rest you have effectively spent 10p per minute.

        Make sure you get a bundle that is large enough to cover all of your calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers made in one month. The rate when you exceed the allowance is usually extortionate.

        Calls to 080 numbers will be free from all mobile phones from 1 July 2015.

        Never call 084, 087 and 09 numbers from a mobile phone. Call the organisation’s new 03 number if they have one. Most now do. Check their official website.


        March 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      • Thanks for that. It was the incentive I needed to change network.

        I asked for my PAC yesterday and it arrived this morning.

        SIM card for new network was ordered yesterday and is in the post.

        Hopefully it will turn up on Saturday. I can than change network without putting any more credit on the current SIM. I have enough to last until about Wednesday at the most.

        On the new network I have chosen a pay as you deal that has an option to have 500 minutes per month for £10. It also comes with more texts per month than I send in a year…

        Simon N

        April 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm

  11. Until recently, most DWP 0845 lines announced that an 0345 number was also available and then gave you the choice either to hang up and redial the new 0345 number else continue with the call on the 0845 number.

    More recently, several of the 0845 lines have a new message. They simply tell you to re-dial using the new 0345 number and then cut off, helpfully adding “you have not been charged for this call” before doing so.


    May 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

  12. That disingenuous, smug fucker Cameron mentioned the “note about no money”* TWICE to John Humphries on the Today programme on Radio today. Both times Humphries let it go unchallenged. Have interviewers just got fed up with challenging Cameron about this and like a spoilt kid who won’t give back the lollipop just let him slip it past. Or does Humphries and Co. think that we already know that its a crock and are just letting Cameron show himself up as the slippery c!”£ that he is?

    * A RUNNING JOKE from one Chancellor to the next: “There is no money. We spent it all”.

    cameron is a smug fucker

    May 6, 2015 at 7:39 am

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