Boris DEMANDS better service from BBC as Beeb starts charging over 75s TV licence fee

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    Last year, the BBC announced it would be scrapping free TV licences for most over-75s meaning more than three million households will be forced to pay £157.50 a year. It was halted until August due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    The decision was met with criticism from both the Government and Age UK who called it a “kick in the teeth”.

    They wrote on Twitter: “We’re bitterly disappointed by today’s #TVLicence decision.

    “This is a kick in the teeth for millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time during the crisis.”

    Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams added: “”Everyone needs to understand that under the BBC’s scheme many hundreds of thousands of the poorest pensioners will be facing a bill they will simply be unable to afford to pay.”

    Yesterday, the BBC confirmed it would start charging people from August 1 after rumours the free TV licence would extend until October.

    Now, Mr Johnson has lashed out against the corporation and called for the BBC to provide a better service.

    His deputy spokesman said: “We have been clear we are bitterly disappointed by the BBC’s decision not to extend the free licence fee beyond August.

    “We don’t believe that easing lockdown restrictions means older people value TV any less than they did a few weeks ago.

    READ MORE: BBC TV licence: Boris could decriminalise non-payment of fee 

    Despite all TV and film productions being halted due to the pandemic, the BBC chairman, Sir David Clementi, argued they could not delay the scheme as it would impact programmes and services.

    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.”

    Three million households will now be forced to pay £157.50 for a colour licence and £57 for a black and white licence from August 1.

    Only those who receive pension credit benefit and over 75 will be eligible for a free licence.

    So far only 450,000 out of 1.5million households have applied.

    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.

    Last month, a campaign to defund the BBC was launched by James Yucel, a student at Glasgow University, who launched the group “on a whim out of frustration”.



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