ALMOST a million OAPs are reportedly refusing to pay their TV licence fee after the BBC stopped making the scheme free for people aged over 75.
About 750,000 people are believed to be resisting reminders to pay the £157.50 annual fee, new figures show.
Almost a million OAPs are reportedly refusing to pay for a TV licenceCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The TV licence costs £157.50 per yearCredit: Alamy
The total amount of unpaid fees means the BBC could be losing out on around £118million every year.
People who do not pay the TV licence risk a £1,000 fine – with jail sentences possible for those who refuse to pay the penalty.
Campaigners are calling for the BBC to reinstate free TV licences for over-75s.
Dennis Reed, director of pensioner campaign group Silver Voices, said OAPs have been “flooded with further reminder letters” in the past few weeks, The Sunday Mirror reports.
He said: “Some had three or four letters in the last couple of weeks reminding them their licences would be cancelled. They are desperate to get people to pay.
“The BBC has made a total pig’s ear of this and if they start fining and jailing the over-75s their roof will fall in.”
People who refuse to pay their TV licence could be handed a £1,000 fineCredit: PA:Press Association
Keith Abendroth, 78, told The Sunday Mirror he is refusing to pay the TV licence on a point of principle.
He said: “If they took me to court and said ‘You’ve got two weeks in prison’ I could quite easily go to jail and watch TV for nothing. That’s the ludicrous thing – and I’d get three meals a day.
“It’s a ridiculous payment. The BBC should find another way of raising funds, as ITV and every other channel do.
“It was introduced as a benefit for OAPs, and we don’t get many these days. It’s time somebody stood up to the BBC.”
Free TV licences for over-75s were scrapped last summer, causing extra costs for millions of households.
The decision was met with widespread dismay with petitions calling for a U-turn attracting hundreds of thousands of signatures.
BBC chairman, Sir David Clementi, said: “The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy… The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.”