Last year, the Beeb announced it would be scrapping free TV licences for most over-75s meaning more than three million households will now be forced to pay £157.50 a year. It was originally halted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but last month it confirmed it would start charging people from August 1.
The move by the BBC was met with anger from the Government and pensioner charities including Age UK who called the decision a “kick in the teeth”.
And now former newsreader, Jan Leeming, 78, has announced she will not be renewing her licence due to the BBC’s new stance.
Ms Leeming, one of Britain’s best known news readers and presenters after becoming a familiar face to millions during the Seventies and Eighties, claimed the licence fee was once value for money but is not these days.
Former BBC newsreader Jan Leeming condemns licence
The BBC scrapped free TV licence for over-75s
Writing on Twitter, she said: “Ouch – just wrote cheque for £157.50 for [my] TV licence.
“In the past it was probably value for money but [I] hardly ever watch terrestrial TV – not interested in soaps, cookery and delving into people’s lives with so many reality programmes – there are so many other outlets nowadays.
“The licence has been around so long [I] can’t remember – is [the] licence only for BBC?
“If it is then I need not have paid it as there’s very little on it that I watch? Then I’ve just wasted my money.
Former BBC newsreader Jan Leeming
“How do the police know whether you’ve paid or not? I like some BBC4 repeats but can live without it. Won’t renew next year.”
Ms Leeming went on to claim the licence fee money is used to pay the large salaries of some BBC employees.
She continued: “It’s the way our money is spent by the BBC that annoys me.
“There are too many overpaid people.
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Jan Leeming will not renew BBC licence next year
“My bets noire is the current ‘crop’ of news presenters who have celebrity status and salaries to match.”
Ms Leeming started working at the BBC back in 1980 but left seven years later.
She has criticised the TV licence fee in the past claiming if she had to pay she would request a refund.
After announcing the news, BBC chairman, Sir David Clementi, argued they could not delay the scheme any longer as it would impact programmes and services.
Jan Leeming joined the BBC back in 1980
He said: “The decision to comment the new scheme in August has not been easy.
“The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also lashed out at the BBC urging them to provide a better service.
Three million households will now be forced to pay £157.50 for a colour licence and £57 for a black and white licence.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi
Only those who receive pension credit benefit and over 75 will be eligible for a free licence.
The licence fee is the annual cost viewers must pay in the UK and funds the TV, radio and online services of the BBC alone.
Those caught watching television without a licence can be fined up to £1,000 in addition to court costs.