BBC licence fee hike for paying installments faces axe after demand from ministers | UK | News (Reports)


People who split the £157.50 fee into quarterly payments currently must pay an extra £5 over the year. However, the direct debit cost that ministers want axed comes ahead of the licence actually rising by £1.50 to £159 a year from April. One Government source said yesterday that the direct debit charge issue is likely to be looked at from 2022.

But Shadow Media Minister Chris Matheson said: “People should never be penalised for paying their licence in instalments.”

The Labour MP added: “We know what a vital role TV is playing during the pandemic keeping people informed and entertained during such a difficult time.”

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The BBC uses this £5 fee to pay for added administration in collections.

It is also used to factor in any financial risk associated with making payments over a protracted period.

The news comes after BBC bosses last year went ahead with ending free TV licences for most over- 75s.

The only ones who are exempt from paying the fee are those on pension credits.

Earlier in February BBC director of policy Clare Sumner said the fact the over-75s had to pay for the licence fee was “widely backed by the public”.

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But Ofcom has begun a consultation on the future of public service broadcasting.

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This leaves a six-week campaign period.

Mr Ross added: “In terms of the BBC, they have really got to answer how they are going to provide a platform for this public health information that does not breach the clear guidance there is in the short campaign period that begins when parliament rises and we have purdah.”

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A BBC spokesperson responded to claims they were giving an increased platform to Ms Sturgeon and the SNP.

The spokesperson said: “Our coverage of coronavirus and public health issues in Scotland incorporates a range of voices and perspectives.

“This allows us to bring news and views from around Scotland and beyond, involving politicians from across the political spectrum, as well as commentators, analysts, and other experts.

“We remain committed to having this broad coverage of voices and perspectives across all our news outlets on television, radio and online.”


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