BENEFITS: Phone box cards for fraud hotline

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The Independent Online
Flyers urging people to shop their neighbours to the social security fraud hotline could end up side-by-side with prostitutes' calling cards in telephone boxes, the Government indicated yesterday.

The social security minister Frank Field made clear that telephone box advertising might be used in the campaign to clamp down on benefit cheats. He agreed steps should be taken to make sure people who rang the hotline knew what action was taken over their complaints against fraudsters.

Mr Field was pressed on the issue in the Commons by Tory Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley), who urged him to ask BT and other telephone operators to allow "prominent display" of the hotline in their directories and call- boxes.

"I cannot go past these boxes without failing to notice that they seem to be packed full of cards advertising all sorts of interesting and unusual services," Mr Evans said - quickly adding that he was not making use of them himself.