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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Fury and Condemnation of BBC Over-75 TV Licence Shake Up

The BBC has sparked fury with its announcement yesterday that it is to reduce eligibility for the over-75 TV licence.

With effect from June 2020 the "free" TV licence, which is currently provided to every household with at least one occupant over the age of 75, will become means tested. It will only be available to those over-75 households with an occupant in receipt of pension credit.

Around 3 million current recipients of the over-75 TV licence will lose their eligibility, saving the BBC around £470 million a year.

The announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, has gone down like the proverbial fart in a space suit.

The over-75 TV licence was first introduced in 2000 when Tony Blair was the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Since then the cost has been covered by a Government grant paid directly to the BBC.

But under the terms of its most recent Royal Charter the BBC agreed that it would shoulder the cost of providing over-75 TV licences to every eligible household. In return the Government lifted the seven-year freeze on the cost of a TV licence, which gave the BBC scope to boost its coffers.

The outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called on the BBC to "do the right thing" by continuing to fund the concession under current terms.

Countering accusations that the Government had lumbered the BBC with a poisoned chalice, Mrs May said: "I believe that the BBC actually got a good deal in 2015.

"Indeed, the Government's decision to put the cost of the over-75s on the BBC has been more than matched by the deal coming back for the BBC.

"Those aren't my words", she said. "Those were the words of the Director General of the BBC after the deal in 2015.

"And I think taxpayers now expect the BBC to do the right thing."

The Director General of the BBC in 2015, as today, was Tony Hall.

Appearing on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Victor Gregg, a 99-year-old former prisoner of war, slammed the BBC's decision.

"I'm annoyed because I've always admired the BBC for its supposed integrity", he said.

"It's only two days ago that they were patting all these old people on the head and calling them heroes.

"This generation which has saved the world but on the other hand they are robbing the piggy banks.

"They've lived their lives, they are knackered. Television is an antidote for talking to the cat.

"It's disgraceful. There's no other word for it - they want money, they're overspending. Who do they attack? Those who can't answer back."

Caroline Abrahams, of the charity Age UK, said: "We are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up."

A BBC spokesperson said: "Supporting vulnerable people is an absolute priority and many residents of residential care homes, supported housing or sheltered accommodation already benefit from a discounted TV Licence costing just £7.50 and this will still be the case.

"Our new scheme for over 75s will protect the poorest pensioners and we’ll provide additional support for vulnerable customers - while protecting BBC services which they value for companionship."

If you're an over-75 due to lose out on the concession, there has never been a better time to adopt legally-licence-free viewing habits.

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Fred Bear said...

If you look at the BBC's own Equality Impact Assessment that accompanies this vile proposal, the BBC admits vulnerable groups such as the disabled will be the most badly affected by their actions

The BBC doesn't care a hoot for vulnerable people - they just want cash and the more the better.

Hopefully people will respond to the greed and arrogance of the BBC by cancelling their TV licences.

Anonymous said...

2 point summary.

1 - The current Tory govt took money away that a previous Labour govt gave to over 75s.
2 - Poor pensioners are not very likely to be affected because pension credit claimants still get the discount, & deprived people tend not to make 75.

The Tory bacilli really did an excellent job of taking away public funds for the "poor pensioners" and then making it seem like it was the evil BBC wot dun it.
Also please note genuinely poor pensioners- the ones who, despite Tory created poverty, actually make it to age 75 (as neither of my parents did) will get the same conditions as now.
The ones sitting on plump, juicy gold-plated final-salary annuities are now losing one solitary single example of their numerous OAP discounts.
Please do not mention the war generation, you are demanding subsidies for people who were in their teens & 20s in the swinging sixties. I think those people had a pretty good time.
All this as younger generations continue to subsidise them. Those who did not grow up in times of full employment, who missed out on one full time wage buying a "family home" are condemned to keep paying for their luxurious 20 and 30 year retirements.

p.s. Dear Fred Bear, I sincerely hope you protested when the Tory govt removed the public subsidy for the pensioners you care so terribly much about. But you didn't, did you?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the hated TV tax will be abolished and all the overpaid Luvvies can cry into their Chablis, prosecco and tea.

Lust And Caution said...

Does this mean we can now rename the 'threat-o-grams' to 'threat-a-grans'?

Fred Bear said...

In answer to Anonymous's 2 point summary.

1. The Labour Government gave the money to the BBC, an extremely wealthy organisation, notorious for greed and waste. It would have been much more sensible to make the BBC issue free licences to the over 75's and to keep the money for things like: hip operations, knee operations, treatments for dementia etc.
2. Just look at the conditions to qualify for pension credit.
(https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit) There will be masses of poor pensioners who will be forced to pay up to keep top BBC executives and so-called talent living in luxury.

It's clear that the BBC could easily maintain the concession by making cuts to their services- they would still have an income of around £4.5 billion.