BBC ordered to decriminalise non-payment of TV licence as ‘vulnerable’ pensioners targeted

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The BBC must end the criminalisation of TV licence fee evasion, a furious critic has demanded. ‘Red wall’ Conservative MP Lee Anderson spoke to the campaign group, ‘Defund the BBC’, about the future of the broadcaster. He warned “dragging 90-year-olds” into court would “show the metal” of the BBC.

Mr Anderson said: “Not having a TV licence should not be a criminal offence.

“The real criminals are the people working for the BBC.

“People like Gary Lineker who’s taking £2million a year from the taxpayer.

“That’s the real crime here and we need to stop it.”

Host Calvin Robinson agreed with the MP, but pointed to one key issue with the move.

There are concerns that decriminalising the license will shift the problems of harassment and penalisation of some of the most vulnerable and poorest parts of society from the magistrates’ courts into the hands of bailiffs.

Mr Anderson told him: “We are aware of that and that’s something that will have to be raised in Parliament.

“But actually when it comes to that it will show the metal of the BBC.”

The MP continued: “When they start dragging 90-year-old people through the courts for 150 quid whilst paying their executives God knows how much money.

“They’re paying TV presenters £2million a year, paying radio presenters £2million a year, yet let’s take 95-year-old Sid from Ashfield to court to get 157 quid off him.

“That’ll show what they’re made of.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a review of sanctions for non-payment of the controversial charge last year.

Now ministers are finalising plans to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence and bring it under the scope of ‘civil debt’.

The BBC will be able to collect fines using bailiffs and to take action against evaders in county courts.

Currently failing to pay your TV licence can land you with a £1,000 fine.

It is a criminal offence to watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer unless you have a valid TV licence. has contacted the BBC for comment.

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