As the SKWAWKBOX covered yesterday, Treasury Secretary Liz Truss floundered incompetently and dodged the question when she was challenged by the BBC’s Daily Politics programme about the fact that Universal Credit (UC) claimants – many of whom are in absolutely desperate straits – are charged 55p per minute to call the DWP to try to sort out their claim.
A woman broke down on in a BBC interview yesterday as she told of the impact on her life of an eight-month delay in her payments – and 45% of UC claimants have experienced delays, often resulting in serious hardship. According to Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, campaigners expect UC to push 200,000 more children into poverty.
However, not everyone is forced to pay through the nose to contact the government about their financial affairs.
In fact, some don’t pay at all.
‘0300’ numbers, according to area-codes.org.uk, are charged at the same rate as a call to a normal landline:
However as the last couple of lines make clear, if you have a contract mobile or landline with included minutes, calls to an 0300 number are included in your package – so you can call one for free.
So, does the government make 0300 numbers available to any groups of people who might want to contact it? It does.
To whom? Well, the wealthy, of course. In fact, even the very wealthy – so-called ‘high net worth individuals’. HMRC (Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue) – the organisation that deals with tax collection – website contains a helpful list of contact numbers for all kinds of categories of potential callers.
Here’s its page for those with loadsamoney:
If you’re a millionaire or billionaire, you or a representative can call absolutely free or in the worst case – can you imagine a millionaire or millionaire’s dogsbody without a mobile contract with free minutes? – for the same as calling any landline.
It’s not just millionaires. Just inherited a huge windfall and want to check your inheritance tax position? You’ve guessed it: free.
Made a mint on your shares and investments? No problem – you can call the Capital Gains helpline without spending a penny.
McDonalds, Starbucks, Amazon or any other huge business? You can call the Corporation Tax or Employer helplines within your contracted minutes – even if it’s just to order some more HMRC stationery.
Oil and gas companies, offshore investors, accountants, builders, investors, alcohol importers and lots of others can call HMRC gratis.
But there’s one category that takes the cake:
Yup. If you’ve got a yacht or pleasurecraft and you want a bit of help from HMRC on any potential tax issues, you can call free of charge.
But if you’ve got nothing, in many cases literally nothing, well, it only stands to reason that you should rack up a £5.50 bill for every ten minutes you sit listening to infuriating music in the long, long queue – 45% of claimants need to get through, remember – while you wait for someone to answer and tell you that you’ll receive your money next week. Again.
Or in six weeks, or eight months, or whenever we eventually get around it once we think we’ve milked you enough on our gougeline.
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