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BBC shamed for ‘cracking down on over-75s’ after wasting £9.25m on licence fee letters

BBC licence fee: Ian Collins discusses ‘crack down’

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TalkRADIO host Ian Collins shamed the BBC after the corporation wasted £9.25m last year chasing down “licence fee dodgers”. It was revealed in The Sun this week that the BBC spent the whopping sum last year sending 34 million letters demanding TV licence fee payments. Mr Collins ridiculed that the BBC’s decision to”crack down” on the over-75s, who were no longer eligible for a free TV license.

He said: “The BBC bosses are spending £3,000 a day chasing license fee dodgers.

“£9.25million! That works out at 111,959 enforcements notices being sent every working day.

“It is likely to rise even further as the BBC pledge to crack down on the over-75s, the bandits. 

“They are coming for the octogenarians, so watch out!”

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The £9.25m post bill, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, would cover the cost of giving £159 licences to more than 58,000 of those against paying.

There are 750,000 over-75s believed to have refused to pay after free licences were scrapped this year.

John O’Connell, of pressure group TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “People are being chased for an ever-more expensive TV tax when hard-up households are struggling to make ends meet.

“Heavy-handed enforcement like this shows why the licence fee has to go.”

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The total amount the BBC could potentially receive from the targeted pensioners adds up to just over £40million, according to the Mail on Sunday.

This is equivalent to the cost of 52 BBC presenters currently earning more than £150,000 a year – plus the salaries of as many as 100 senior leaders.

The crackdown on vulnerable pensioners contrasts with Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker’s salary of £1.36million a year.

A TV Licensing spokesman added: “These letters generate more funds than they cost to send, so more money can be spent on programmes and services.”

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It is a legal requirement to have a TV licence to watch and stream all live broadcast programming in the UK.

Failure to pay the bill could lead to prosecution, a £1,000 fine and prison. 

Jan Shortt, general secretary of campaign group National Pensioners Convention, has warned that some 60,000 pensioners have not paid the fee because they do not have the funds.

Ms Shortt said: “Many people have a hard decision to make this year – whether they turn on their heating or pay for a TV licence. For many vulnerable people, the television provides comfort and company.

“We estimate at least 60,000 are surviving on perhaps £180 a week or less and are just above the threshold that would allow them to claim Pension Credit – and be eligible for a free TV licence.

“With soaring heating bills and rising council taxes, people will be forced to decide if they can still afford this basic luxury or must forgo their TV to keep their home warm.”

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