Keep Free TV Licencing For Pensioners

Recently, Rosie Cooper told us

“In West Lancashire, 6,820 [over 3,000,000 nationally] older households could face having to pay a licence fee. If the concession is means-tested, for example by linking to Pension Credit, 5,010 households will lose this crucial pensioner benefit. If the age for the concession is raised to 80, 2,780 [1,800,000 nationally] households will be hit with new expenses”. This seems to have caused minor ripples in the BBC pond, or swamp!

The BBC Executive Board consists of 13 highly paid people led by Director General Lord Hall, whose salary is £450,000. Its Chairman of Governors Sir David Clementi receives an annual “fee” of £100,000 who states that he “has been struck by the extent to which the BBC’s public service mission is growing in importance in a fast-changing world”.

Recent pay rises for BBC staff include these 

We might wonder about Clementi’s world, as the Government-funded scheme proving free TV licences to older viewers will come to an end in June, 2020. According to Age UK, about 50,000 UK pensioners could be pushed below the poverty line if the free TV licence is scrapped. The BBC has confirmed the price of TV licence will increase to £154.50 in April. The charge applies whether the show is watched on a TV set, computer or tablet.

The Netflix effect

The number of people ditching their TV licences in favour of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Now TV. But more than 860,000 TV licences were cancelled in 2017-18, compared to 798,000 in 2016-17. The figures amount to 2,300 cancellations a day. In March last year, 25.8 million licences were held. It is now believed that the ‘Netflix effect’ is leading viewers to abandon their BBC TV licenses entirely. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Now TV do not require any license.

A basic Netflix subscription costs £5.99 a month (about £72 a year). A total of 5.9 million BBC licences have been cancelled since 2012. TV Licensing said people cancelled their licences for various reasons, such as moving in with a partner who already had a licence. Cancellations include some payment failures.

British rival to Netflix?

Netflix alone is believed to have 9.78 million UK subscribers. The BBC is currently having talks with ITV and Channel 4 about setting up a British rival to Netflix with a monthly fee, offering access to programmes on iPlayer for up to a year after broadcast. 7 per cent of households were found to have evaded the licence fee despite watching TV. 

Conclusion? Drain the BBC swamp, sell the BBC to ITV, let the sofa-makers advertise on the enlarged privatised channel, end licensing! Simple!


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