Europe

BBC waste £9million chasing licence fee dodgers – paying out £3k a DAY on letters

Pensioner says she'll 'go to jail' over BBC TV licence fee

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The corporation sent out 34 million letters demanding licence fee payments. It is the equivalent of 111,959 enforcement notes and £3,000 per working day.

Following the broadcaster’s pledge to crack down on 750,000 over-75s believed to have refused to pay after free licences were scrapped, the figure is likely to be even higher.

The total 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.

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.

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.”

The BBC licence fee has risen by £13.50, or just over nine percent, since 2016, according to TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The full price of a colour TV licence is currently £159 and £53.50 for a black and white licence.

Though discounts and exemptions apply, it is a legal requirement to have a TV licence to watch and stream all live broadcast programming in the UK.

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The broadcaster, led by director-general Tim Davie, is facing criticism as not being fit for the “21st-century broadcasting market”.

Yet, it is guaranteed to continue operating under its current form until 2027.

However, TaxPayers’ Alliance suggested the Government could rethink the BBC’s role past that point during its mid-review next year.

The group said: “A smaller state-funded BBC — producing output focused on high culture and serious news — appeals to many.

“Yet this is not what the BBC has been for some time.

“Licence fee money is used to allow the BBC to compete in the commercial market, eliminate local media outlets through its regional stations, and chase a youth audience which is rapidly turning away from traditional public service broadcasters to services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.”

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