Last week, the BBC started sending letters to over-75s who previously did not have to pay the fee to remind them that they were non longer eligible for a free licence. From August 1 only pensioners older than 75 on pension credit were exempted automatically.
However, the national broadcast was warned there could be a “peasants revolt” if they try to prosecute those who do not pay the licence fee.
Julian Knight, the Tory MP for Solihull, said: “The BBC could face the modern day equivalent of the peasants’ revolt if it tries to prosecute the over-75s for non-payment of the licence fee.
“At present most cases in front of the courts are non-contested and are over in a jiffy but I can see pensioners who feel wronged organising and wanting their day in court, calling witnesses and tying up the magistrates system and causing huge backlogs of cases.
“The BBC owes it to their own wider reputation to proceed cautiously when it comes to prosecutions.
“I am not sure yet this message has entirely got through to management at the Beeb.”
Now, Express.co.uk is asking whether you would support over-75s with a national strike against paying the TV licence fee.
The decision to scrap the free service has been widely criticised by both the Government and Age UK who called it a “kick in the teeth”.
Writing on Twitter when the fee was introduced for over 75s, Age UK said: “We’re bitterly disappointed by today’s #TVLicence decision.
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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson lashed out at the corporation’s decision and ordered them 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.
“The BBC must now look urgently to make sure how it uses it’s substantial licence fee income to deliver for people of all ages.”
The £157.50 fee is for a colour licence, while the amount drops to £57 for a black and white licence.
So far only 450,000 out of 1.5million households have applied.
The annual fee funds the TV, radio and online services of the BBC lone.
Anyone found to be watching TV without a licence can face a fine of up to £1,000 in addition to court costs.
A campaign group has been set up to defund the BBC.
Published at Mon, 10 Aug 2020 17:22:00 +0000