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Number's Up For County Council's 0845 Lines

John Freeman
County Council chiefs have announced the forthcoming introduction of cheaper 0300 numbers to contact its services.

The decision by Lancashire County Council to replace its current 0845 numbers with 0300 numbers will make it cheaper to contact the council by phone.

The new numbers, to be introduced on Thursday 27th March, will cost the same to call as geographic numbers starting 01 or 02.

0300 calls are often included as part of inclusive minutes, discount schemes or bundled packages in the same way as geographic calls, so will be free of charge to the customer in many cases.

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of the County Council, said: "Changing to 0300 numbers is undoubtedly the right thing fo! r us to do as a council and will enable the people we serve to contact us for the same cost as any other geographic number. These numbers are often also included in people's mobile phone packages.

"Ensuring that the existing numbers continue to work means that we can introduce the new numbers without inconveniencing anyone and can minimise the costs of the change."

The change is part of a country-wide move to 0300 numbers to reduce the cost of contacting public sector organisations. The DVLA, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Ofcom have already moved to 0300 numbers and other councils across the country are also making the switch.

The existing 0845 numbers will continue to work for the foreseeable future, until the council is sure that the vast majority of calls are being made to the new numbers. Callers to the 0845 numbers will be automatically connected to the Customer Service Centre and hear a message informing them! that they can redial the 0300 number at a lower cost, or if they want stay on the 0845 line.

Maintaining the existing numbers will minimise the costs of the change by meaning that printed material with the old numbers does not need to be replaced immediately.

The council will publicise the new numbers from the end of February.