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Sunday, 3 February 2019

BBC Begs Parliamentarians for Help Scrapping Over-75 TV Licence

The BBC is at it again. Pleading poverty at the same time as announcing a hike in the TV licence fee.

According to a report in today's Sunday Express the BBC has been grovelling to Parliamentarians in a desperate bid to avoid having to self-fund the "free" over-75 TV licence.

From the financial year 2020/21 the BBC will be entirely responsible for shouldering the £725m annual cost of providing such licences, should they continue in the current format.

The BBC doesn't like spending money (unless it's on champagne, hookers, bikini waxes, baseless legal defences or gagging clauses of course), so is actively considering ways of reducing the "financial burden" of the over-75 TV licence.

In its latest missive to Westminster the BBC has risably claimed that if it had to foot the bill the service would be "worse overall for everyone". It has also warned that the sustainability of the organisation is "already at risk" without having to fund over-75 TV licences.

Andrew Bridgen MP, a well known critic of the national broadcaster, said: "This is a begging letter from the BBC pleading poverty."

The BBC insisted it was not trying to influence MPs, saying: "To suggest this is lobbying for one outcome is nonsense - especially since the BBC will make the final decision on this."

The end of the free TV licence would threaten to criminalise millions of pensioners if they do not start paying the flat rate. Critics said that the move could force lonely pensioners from being able to enjoy their one guaranteed source of companionship by making it too expensive for them.

Mr Bridgen said: "I managed to get the licence fee decriminalised in the last review but George Osborne dropped that in exchange for the BBC to take on the free TV licence for over-75s.

"Now it appears the BBC is breaking the promises it made and extending this most regressive of taxes on to the elderly and vulnerable.

"Already some of the poorest in our society - mostly women - are going to prison because of the aggressive way licence fee compliance is being handled."

A BBC spokesman said: "Government funding for free TV licences for people aged over-75 ends in 2020 and we're currently consulting on options for the future.

"No decisions on the future have been taken. Licences which are being issued are valid for 12 months.

"We have set out a range of options in our consultation and people still have until 12th February to give us their views to help the BBC make the best and fairest decision."

In our opinion the BBC should be retaining the over-75 TV licence fee in its existing format. If that means the BBC has to cut some of its more shitty televisual and radio offerings then so be it. Let's face it - there are plenty of them to choose from.

Hands up anyone under the age of 80 who actually listens to BBC Local Radio. What exactly does BBC Local Radio do that its commercial rivals don't? Apart from broadcasting programmes about gardening and needlepoint? Culling its local radio services would save the BBC almost £200m at a stroke.

We would encourage you to complete the consultation and indicate that the over-75 TV licence should be retained in its existing format:

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1 comment:

Fred Bear said...

The greedy BBC will attempt to pick the pockets of the elderly. The BBC has no shame. There is plenty that can be done though, to lobby against the proposed changes - hopefully it will bring the end of the licence fee system.