BBC news: License fee and British Broadcasting Corporation attacked by Darren Grimes | UK | News (Reports)

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Previously all over-75s received a free TV licence paid for by the Government. However this responsibility was passed from the Government to the BBC itself, which decided it was unable to pay.

Currently only over-75s who are entitled to pension credits can get free TV licences.

It is currently illegal to watch live television, including online, in the UK without paying for a TV licence.

English cricket legend Ian Botham has argued “there should be an explicit pledge TV Licencing will never prosecute anyone over 75”.

This position was shared by Mr Grimes who tweeted: “Brilliant to see Ian Botham out to bat for our pensioners.

According to BBC figures, 2.7 million over-75s have now paid for a TV licence.

Another 750,000 have applied for free licences as a result of being on pension credits.

TV licences cost £157.50 per household for colour or £53 for a purely black and white one.

Those who watch live TV without a licence can be fined and potentially imprisoned if they refuse to pay the fine.

The BBC’s decision to abolish free TV licenses for the over-75s was condemned by a number of pensioners groups.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Dennis Reed, director of pensioner campaign group Silver Voices, claimed the number who are paying the fee is “stalling”.

He said: “There are a hard core who are resisting.

“The over-75s have suddenly been flooded with further reminder letters.

“Some had three or four letters in the last couple of weeks reminding them their licences would be cancelled. They are desperate to get people to pay.

“The BBC has made a total pig’s ear of this and if the courts start fining and jailing the over-75s their roof will fall in.”

However in a statement given on behalf of the BBC TV Licencing said the new policy has received wide compliance.

They commented: “Around 80% of over-75 households have transitioned to the new system, including those in receipt of Pension Credit eligible for a free licence funded by the BBC.

“We’re giving people time to get set up, the process is Covid-secure and we have measures to support people, including payment plans.

“We are not visiting households registered as having held a free over-75s licence.”

The BBC has previously defended the licence fee for ensuring the corporation serves “all audiences”.

A BBC spokeswoman previously told Express.co.uk: “The licence fee continues to ensure the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, committed to serving all audiences and investing in British creativity.

“It is the agreed method of funding until at least 2027 and any further debate on this will be for the next Charter discussions.”

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