BBC licence fee ‘no longer fit for purpose’ says expert
Over-75s were entitled to a free television licence up until August last year, when pensioners were then forced to cough up the annual charge due to budget cuts. But the corporation’s annual report for 2020/21 has shown it made £3,750 million from the annual TV licence. The report also showed the extra licence fee payments from pensioners helped contribute to a rise of £250million from last year.
Dennis Reed, director of the Silver Voices campaign group, called on the Government to stop the charges for older people earlier this year.
He said: “The BBC is calling the people carrying out these visits ‘customer support officers’ but their job is to enforce payment.
“They will be asking people why they haven’t got a licence
“Clearly, the BBC is not going to do anything other than enforce the licence fee. It is now time for the Government to act.
The BBC released its annual report for 2020/2021 today
“I’m sure they don’t want to see senior citizens in their 80s and 90s, who have paid tax throughout their lives, fined up to £1,000 and carted off to jail.”
Former England cricket captain Lord Botham also lashed out at the corporation for charging pensioners licence fee payments.
In a new letter to The Telegraph, Lord Botham wrote: “Viewers can see that the moral crime here is that the BBC has broken its promise to the over-75s that it would pay for their licences.
“A grassroots revolt against the licence fee is under way, and it is being led by pensioners.
The licence fee also increased from £157.50 to £159 in April
“The BBC is one scandal away from a wholesale licence fee rebellion.”
It comes as the licence fee also increased from £157.50 to £159 in April.
The black and white licences also rose from £53.00 to £53.50.
Meanwhile, the annual report also showed Gary Lineker is still the top earner, despite last year agreeing to a pay reduction of around £400,000.
It was announced last year that the Match Of The Day host had taken a pay cut, which reduced his pay from £1.75 million to £1.36 million.
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The black and white licences also rose from £53.00 to £53.50
Zoe Ball remained the broadcaster’s second highest paid talent after requesting a pay cut when agreeing a new two-year deal as Radio 2’s breakfast host.
She asked to reduce her pay by 28 percent to £980,000 to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “Zoe Ball is a world-class broadcaster hosting Radio 2’s flagship show and her professionalism and commitment to the Breakfast Show is extraordinary.
“She’s hugely talented and has made the show her own, with many millions of listeners tuning in each morning to the nation’s most listened to Breakfast Show.”
The extra licence fee payments from pensioners helped provide a rise of £250million
Speaking during the launch of the report, BBC director-general Tim Davie said discussions with top on-air talent over reducing their pay packets had been “mutual and constructive”.
He added: “I am not going to give information on the specifics of the conversations.
“All I would say is I think everyone recognises the strategy, which is getting value to audiences and, without being funny, most conversations are mutual and constructive.
“Now, clearly as a management team, we want to get more value and we are willing to make tough decisions to that extent.
The BBC has faced backlash over its licence fee charges
“I think these conversations have all been constructive, as with Zoe Ball where she came forward and said she wanted to adjust the salary.
“I think everyone is absolutely with the programme on that one.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment.
Author: Rachel Russell
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