§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the Scottish Office's telephone information line; and what are the costs involved in running the service, the total numbers of staff employed, the numbers of inquiries dealt with and the number of inquiries passed on to other agencies.
§ Mr. Lang
The Scottish Office information line, 0345 741 741 was launched on 30 September 1993. Calls on the information line to the Scottish Office central inquiry unit in Edinburgh from public phones anywhere in Scotland are charged at local rate. In addition members of the public may make calls to the unit from over 20 local information points throughout Scotland at no cost.
Since the launch, the information line has received over 1,900 calls. It is estimated that more than 90 per cent. Of 72W them have been for the Scottish Office and its associated departments or agencies to deal with. The cost of operating the information line is estimated to be £28,500 per annum. This excludes start up and initial publicity costs of £175,000. The staff of the central inquiry unit was augmented by one to handle the initiative.