§ Mr. Randall
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on using 0870 telephone numbers for inquiries by the public to the Department and its agencies. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
There is no overall departmental policy covering the use of national rate (0870) telephone numbers for inquiries by the public to the Department and its agencies. National rate numbers are not used anywhere in the centre of the Department. Usage in the various departmental agencies is as follows.
DVLA use national rate (0870) telephone numbers for the main inquiry lines that answer general queries about driver licensing and vehicle registration and licensing. This is to ensure that all callers receive a fair and equitable service in as much as they pay the same telephone charge no matter from what part of the country they call.
The vehicle inspectorate uses a national rate (0870) number as an additional service above and beyond the local contact numbers that are available to the trade and general public.
The Driving Standards Agency uses a national rate (0870) number for telephone bookings for driving tests at their two call centres, based in Newcastle and Cardiff. This ensures equity of payment for all customers using booking services without resulting in increased fee levels.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency Rescue use a national rate (0870) number for their information line, which handles general inquiries about the MCA.
Highways Agency and Vehicle Certification Agency do not use national rate numbers.