Thursday, 1 Oct 2020

BBC furiously savaged for ignoring calls for ‘humane exemptions’ to new TV licencing fee

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Silver Voices Director Dennis Reed argued the BBC should have more exemptions for those over-75s who now have to pay for their TV licence. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Reed said so far the BBC have ignored many forms of protests. He added he was surprised the broadcasting giant implemented the fees during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Reed said: “There has been warnings.

“The campaign against the scrapping of free licences has been going for over a year now.

“We knew it was intended to happen sometime this year.

“There have been massive petitions, demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, email-writing campaigns and so on.

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“None of those have altered the BBC’s view nor has it persuaded the Government to step in and say to the BBC that they must keep these free licences.”

Mr Reed said he and his organisation were well aware of the BBC’s decision to stick with the licencing fee for over-75s.

However, he noted he was surprised that they decide to unroll this change during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “It is a surprise that the implementation has taken place in the middle of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has shown is an essential companion and source of public information when there is a sort of health crisis.

“To potentially cut that off for isolated, frail individuals seems to me to be the height of folly.

“The BBC have just said they have got to do it because they can’t afford to keep the free licence.”

Mr Reed argued that the BBC should reconsider their decision with the idea of humanitarian exemptions in mind.

He said: “The BBC have not been moved by the fact that I have said on multiple occasions to the BBC chiefs that they need to have humanitarian exemptions.

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“Exemptions are only for those on pension credit.

“I said that they need to give humanitarian exemptions where people are living with dementia.

“They also need to give exemptions for people who are recently bereaved because of the pandemic.

“There are many individual circumstances that would justify an exemption from the licence fee.”

The BBC initially delayed the introduction of the new TV licence fees for over-75s because of the ongoing pandemic.

The new fee paying structure was due to come into force on June 1, but the broadcaster made the decision to delay until August 1.

Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for comment.

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