Re: License fee for over 75s

Charlie M
👍 1

Tue 12 Feb, 20:50 (last edited on Tue 12 Feb, 20:54)

Phil Morgan, your comments are spot on. The truth is that this government HATES the BBC, believing it to be "biased" (!), and if they thought that they could get away with it, they would sell it off to private enterprise. 

Also, there is now little recollection of the part that the BBC proudly played in the Second World War, conveying coded messages to the French Resistance and other agents across Europe who were so bravely working to undermine the vile Nazi regime.

Regarding the accusation of "bias" against the BBC by this government, there is a very good barometer: I started listening to Radio Four's "Today" Programme around 1979, and it has been since then a pretty constant start to my day. And over the years I have heard some of the "bright lights in their eyes" questioning of government ministers; in fact the presenters of today (no pun intended) are *mild* by comparison with the late great Brian Redhead, whose grilling of Nigel Lawson (after Lawson had accused him of political affiliation and bias) ended with him suggesting that "we should have a one-minute silence now in this interview, one for you to apologise for daring to suggest that you know how I vote and secondly perhaps in memory of monetarism which you have now discarded.". OUCH!! And they were similarly fierce towards wayward Labour politicians too. So in my view accusations of bias are totally without substance.

Finally, regarding the licence fee, this is effectively yet another attack by the government on the BBC. They need to re-absorb the cost of licences for the elderly, together with the costs of running the World Service. What they are doing does indeed seem to be the "death of a thousand cuts", and it must stop NOW.

Alice Brander
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Tue 12 Feb, 18:44

Not at all Christine.  I am lamenting the death by a 1,000 cuts of the BBC.     If more and more costs are piled onto it then it can do less and less good programming until we don't like it any more and we make individual, alternative arrangements.  Nobody has mentioned the World Service costs being transferred from the Foreign Office yet.  It's a pattern we see with the NHS and local Government.  

Amanda Epps
👍 1

Tue 12 Feb, 16:29

I too have filled in the consultation.  Like Phil I was aware that this benefit for over 75’s had originally been paid by the Treasury after being branded as a wonderful government gift.  Then it was quietly shunted over to the BBC to pay.  What may not also be widely known is that the BBC has also been lumbered with funding the Welsh language channel S4C.  Like the free TV license it is totally unfair for the BBC to have to fund what the government should be paying for.

Christine Battersby
👍 4

Tue 12 Feb, 16:18

Alice, I think you are making a pretty large assumption if you think that the solution is to embrace "our" netflix boxes. Not only do loads of people not have--or want-- such boxes, but anyone who watches or records any form of live TV--on i-player, on their smart-phones, TV, smart-watches etc.--requires a TV licence for the address where she or he lives. You can be fined for watching or recording any live broadcast -- and that includes things like sports events on Amazon Prime -- as 26000+ young people found out last year to their cost when they were fined.

You seem to mounting an argument to close down Freeview. Personally, I am more than satisfied with the service that Freeview provides. The judicious use of TV recording equipment has given me a backlog of more programmes than I could ever possibly watch. 

I would also much rather give my money to the BBC than to Amazon, Sky & the like. 

Alice Brander
👍

Tue 12 Feb, 14:48

As Phil Morgan points out "a cynical action'.   The allowance should always have been included in the basic state pension if it ever really was a problem.  Then it would have been taxed in the normal way - a means tested distribution without all those unnecessary transaction costs.  We are being nudged towards paying for personal consumption.  I think we must say our farewells to the BBC in its current form and embrace our netflix boxes.  Or adopt the sensible approach of Alan Cobb and many young people.

Andrew Greenfield
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Tue 12 Feb, 10:13

I completely agree Michael!

My wife and I have often commented that there is absolutely no need for us to receive such a concession just because we are soon to reach that age milestone, and whilst I accept there may be some over 75s who are less well off than us, I am not sure why we should all be lumped in together and given a hand out of ~ £140.

Keep it for those who really deserve/need it!

Michael Flanagan
👍 4

Tue 12 Feb, 07:19

This survey is running to the end of today (Feb 12)

https://www.bbc.com/yoursay?fbclid=IwAR38_sNm8vL2I6VE6Lnaf23HRVm1a57WFWirQJt0STgOLjH0fbrY6OYtx3c

The idea that those of us getting on in life should be subsidised by people struggling to raise a family is a disgrace. The idea might have made sense 50 years ago, when pensioners were poor: it's a preposterous anachronism today.  I urge everyone else my age to show that us pensioners aren't the selfish subsidy-junkies lobby groups purporting to represent us portray us as.

Even if, like me, you'd be largely dependent on the State pension if you weren't still working and are likely to be paying your mortgage till the day you die, you're still better off than most 40 year olds.  

There may be a case for means-tested licence subsidies for the poorest. There's no case at all for restricting such a subsidy to people over 75. And us Charlburian pensioners ought to be standing up for the poor: not for expecting them to subsidise us.

Log on now and rank "restoring a Universal licence fee" your number 1 preference

Andrew Greenfield
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Mon 11 Feb, 22:12

It doesn't matter whether you never watch the BBC, and watch only ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 (or any other channel).

You must have a TV licence to watch any live TV broadcasts or even the BBC-iPlayer live. Saying that you never watch BBC channels will, I'm afraid, be no defence.

I fear that this will have to be means tested if we are to get any fair outcome, though I realise many will fight against means testing for another Gov't hand-out.

Alice Brander
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Mon 11 Feb, 19:01

Thanks for pointing this out.  What will be left of the BBC when we reach retirement age at 66 in 2021?    Young people don't watch TV so who is going to buy a licence?  I'm not even sure how much I watch on the Beeb anymore - but I would really miss their blockbusters like Planet Earth.  

Christine Battersby
👍 3

Mon 11 Feb, 17:53

Susie, The pension only goes up at age 80 for those who have only a very basic State Pension or no State Pension at all. 

I actually found it a really complicated issue to think through since, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1 in 6 pensioners is now likely to be living in poverty. And, according to Age UK, these are the pensioner groups most at risk of poverty: 19% aged 80-84; 85+ 17%; older single women 23%; those renting their homes 36%; those in social housing 31%; Asian & British Asian pensioners 29%; Black or Black British 33%. 

Since women tend to outlive men & women had historically poorer private (and sometimes also State) pensions, and also tended to work for fewer hours, the tendency for overall poverty to increase for those over 80 is not that surprising. It then becomes a complex issue to decide where the cut-off point for a reduced BBC licence fee should be placed.

Thanks, Alex, for posting the reminder and also the link! 

Susie Finch
(site admin)
👍 2

Mon 11 Feb, 16:15

Why is the cost reduced at 75.  The pension doesn’t change then and in fact, so I’m told increases from 80 onwards.  There is need for this to reduce and should cost the same regardless of age.

Rosemary Bennett
👍

Mon 11 Feb, 15:34

Christopher, I agree with you, even though I said it was easy, it did make you really think about it. I wasn't really in favour of much of it, apart from the 50% cut for the over 75s. I favour a licence arrangement for each adult in a household, not by each household. Similar to a driving licence. It would be very hard to implement, and to follow through. Could it be made to work? It would be so much fairer, in the long run. I feel that one pensioner living alone should not pay the same as an entire household full of adults, young and not so young, as many families now have to 're-house' their grown-up children for longer periods.

Phil Morgan
👍

Mon 11 Feb, 15:27

This is such a cynical action by the government. They announce it at a point of maximum distraction - the run-up to Christmas which is always a way to "bury bad news".

Then they dump a 20% revenue cost onto the BBC which could endanger its drama, documentary, science and travelogue production.

I remember listening to a series of Chancellors' speeches where free TV licences were trumpeted as important social benefits for the elderly.

We might deplore the proposal to withdraw the over-75 benefit but, can we really blame the BBC?

Hannen Beith
👍

Mon 11 Feb, 12:51

Just completed the survey.  I think today is the last day.

Stephen Andrews
👍 2

Mon 11 Feb, 08:09 (last edited on Mon 11 Feb, 11:57)

Just completed the survey - only took a few minutes. If the BBC are required to replicate the existing arrangements, once it ends next year, it represents a fifth of their current budget, so consequent cuts will follow, so it is important to comment.

Christopher Betts
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Sun 10 Feb, 11:46

Thanks to Alex for bringing this up. Though I didn't find the questions all that simple, the more I thought about it the more complicated it got. I think the survey missed a few tricks, it could have asked how many old people would be personally prepared to pay up and how important they thought having BBC TV is - for myself it has got more important as I got older (despite the Beeb's irritating habits like delaying programmes or getting the timing wrong when you try to record. Etc etc.)

Rosemary Bennett
👍

Sun 10 Feb, 10:55 (last edited on Mon 11 Feb, 15:22)

I thought it worthwhile to do this survey, so I have just done it. It doesn't take long, it's very easy and plain, and at the end there is an opportunity to have your own say in the matter, so you can put forward your preferred options if they are not already on the list.

I think there are only a couple more days left to be able to do it. It isn't hard to find if you copy and paste the link from Alex's original post.

Thanks Alex for putting this out here.

Alan Cobb
👍 2

Fri 8 Feb, 20:57

Doesn't bother me in the least - no TV and no intention of getting one. I may say that of the over 75s I know, they are quite as able to pay the licence fee as those under 75.

Alex Flynn
👍 2

Fri 8 Feb, 19:07 (last edited on Fri 8 Feb, 19:32)

Earlier today unusually (I am on holiday this week) I caught the end of an afternoon BBC TV news bulletin where they reported words to the effect that the BBC could start charging the over 75s for the license fee from 2020. 

If they are even going to think about doing this it should definitely be means tested. in my opinion

I thought this may be of interest as rightly or wrongly there seem to be a lot of older people living in the Charlbury area who could be affected. 

And for those of us who are well below 75, think about your future if this is allowed to happen. Or how it could affect a family friend or member, Once the cat is out of the bag....to use a well trodden expression/cliché it will be too late to do anything about it.

It was notable how the news editor left it right to the tail end of the bulletin in hope it would be glossed over as trivial... although they did show some brief Vox pop interviews that were mostly (like me) against the idea.

You can Have Your Say here (this had to be found via the BBC website search engine i.e. it wasn't that easily accessible.

https://www.bbc.com/yoursay?fbclid=IwAR38_sNm8vL2I6VE6Lnaf23HRVm1a57WFWirQJt0STgOLjH0fbrY6OYtx3c

(Note: you'll have to cut and paste it into a browser as it doesn't seem to link properly)

Hope this helps

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