BBC TV licence fee fury: Pensioners risk paying DOUBLE for TV licence under new regime

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Employees from outreach firm Capita will be used to collect payment from pensioners. Free licences for the over-75s will come to an end on August 1. However, Age UK has warned out of fear and confusion some pensioners may end up paying double the amount owed.

Age UK’s director Caroline Abrahams warned that approximately 4.5 million elderly people may become confused by the strict rules that collection firms use.

She said: “There is a risk of double payment.

“Because many older people will be extremely keen to ensure they abide by the new regime.

“One of the big problems with this initiative is that it requires everyone over-75 to do something different and new.

“However, given what life is like for this age group, there is a risk of confusion among some.”

“This age group has many other pressing issues to worry about,” she also told The Daily Telegraph.

It comes after the BBC confirmed it would go ahead with a plan to end free TV licences for most over-75s after it was delayed by two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, more than three million households will be asked to start paying the £157.50 fee from August 1.

A delay in introducing the licences was costing it about £40million a month.

Those who receive the Pension Credit benefit will not have to pay the licence fee.

This week protests against the imposition of the fee are escalating.

Reports suggest pensioners are also beginning a campaign to “gum up the works” and frustrate the BBC’s ability to process the payments.

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Elderly people’s charity Silver Voices hope to tie the BBC up in red tape.

Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, a group for senior citizens, said: “We’re calling this a ‘gum up the works’ campaign.

“The aim is to make the cost of enforcing and collecting the licence fee so great that the BBC will have to go to the government and get them to reinstate the free licence.”

A BBC spokesperson told “It was the Government that ended the funding of the over 75s licence fee.

“The BBC has made the fairest decision possible to support the poorest oldest pensioners so those over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit will be able to claim a free TV licence from August paid for by the BBC.

“Continuing with the Government scheme would have cost £745 million a year, rising to £1 billion by the end of the decade.

“This would have meant closures of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations, as well as other cuts and reductions.

“These closures would profoundly damage the BBC for everyone, especially older people who use the BBC the most.

“The decision to start the new scheme in August has not been easy but delaying the introduction of the scheme has cost the BBC over £70 million and we cannot afford to delay any further without further impacting programmes and services which are already being cut back due to our savings programmes.”

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