Every morning, Every evening, Ain’t we got fun. Not much money, Oh but honey, Ain’t we got fun
as sung by Doris Day, Peggy Lee, and Bing Crosby. By contrast, many people like the almost two-thirds of homebuyers who used the government’s Help to Buy scheme could have bought a home without it, an official report has said. It also found that one in 25 of participants had household incomes of over £100,000.
The scheme did help boost the profits of building firms, the NAO said. It was too early to determine if the scheme had delivered value for money for the taxpayer, the report said. “By 2023, the government will have invested up to £29bn in the scheme, tying up cash which cannot be used elsewhere,” the NAO said. Redrow, Bellway, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt, Bovis and Persimmon were all involved and made fortunes from Help to Buy. And some of them pay political party donations.
Now contrast that with the treatment of over 75s for the BBC licence.
Some of the BBC’s biggest names have rounded on the corporation for its over-75s licence fee deal, as Ben Fogle announced he will donate his salary to help pensioners meet the cost.
Jeremy Paxman , Sir Michael Palin and Baroness Bakewell were among those lamenting the decision to scrap the universal concession and restrict free licences to those who claim Pension Credit.
“Benefits are the business of government, not broadcasters. Like many of the BBC’s friends, I keep wondering how the organisation can keep shooting itself in the foot” Paxman said.
Fogle announced that he will give his salary from Animal Park, his BBC One series, to Age UK, which is campaigning against the changes. The presenter said it is wrong to “penalise” the over-75s in this way.
In a post on Instagram, Fogle said “I love the BBC. I think it is one of the greatest institutions in the world. It is the envy of most nations, it makes amazing content and I’d argue it is still value for money. I also owe my whole career to the BBC. They gave me my first break and they (you) employed me for many years but I am disappointed in the recent announcement on the abolition of free licences to the over 75s”.
He explained “I don’t entirely blame the BBC. I think the government forced their hand. I have decided to donate my entire salary for this year’s BBC Animal Park to subsidise licences for those over 75 who have no way of paying for a licence. My late grandparents, Jean and Dick loved the BBC. They would have been lost without it in their twilight year. This is not virtue signalling (although I do think it’s time to rethink the licence) but we owe it to those over 75 who have served their country in the armed forces, the NHS, the fire service etc. Let’s not penalise those who most value the great BBC”.
Fogle said he fears that “society is in danger of losing its moral compass. This is the least I can do for those over 75, an often neglected sector of society. Wouldn’t it be nice if we started respecting, loving, and thanking our elderly population”.
By last night, Age UK’s petition demanding that the government take back responsibility for funding free licences had amassed more than 340,000 signatures.
Sir Michael Palin said “I know that the BBC did a pretty bad deal, I think four years ago, saying it would take over the licences and I hoped somehow that would somehow go away and it hasn’t gone away…I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of the people who now have to fork out for their licence”.
Well, it hasn’t gone away, and it won’t go away, not while we continue to see the injustices imposed on age and the aged. Paying an ex-footballer almost £2million annually to present videos of football matches for the odd hour or two a week is insane. But, apparently, he has talent! You could fool me, the BBC has! But not any more.