This is stomach-turning hypocrisy from the party that hoodwinked the UK into giving it an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.
The Independent explains what’s going on:
The BBC is to end free TV licences for most over-75s from 1 August, after the plan was delayed by two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The broadcaster was due to introduce means-testing at the start of June.
The policy changes mean more than 3 million households will need to pay the £157.50 fee from August, according to the BBC.
That’s bad enough, and you might think it’s poor of the BBC to inflict the licence fee on senior citizens who’ve had TV for free for many years.
This hypocritical Tory certainly seems to think so:
Julian Knight, the Tory MP who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, also expressed his concerns about the decision.
“At what is already a very difficult time, this will be a body blow to millions of British pensioners,” he said.
“I had hoped that the previous delay announced would lead to the government and BBC coming together in order to thrash out a fresh deal. However, that has clearly not happened.”
He seems to have conveniently forgotten that the subsidy was ended by a Tory government, back when George Osborne was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
As This Site has previously stated, the subsidy that paid TV licence fees for people aged 75 and more was brought in by the New Labour government in 1999, when Gordon Brown promised to pay the BBC to provide the service.
Tory Chancellor George Osborne reversed that agreement in 2015 when he told the BBC the government would stop paying the subsidy by June 2020.
He did not say the BBC would be ordered to pay the subsidy instead of the Treasury; it was nothing to do with the BBC.
And before anybody tries to say that Julian Knight is misinformed and Boris Johnson wouldn’t accuse the BBC in the same way, let’s just remind ourselves of Johnson’s own words on the subject, from August 2019:
The BBC should “cough up” and pay for TV licences for all over-75s, the prime minister has said.
It comes after the BBC announced in June that it would restrict the benefit to those in low-income households.
Speaking to reporters at the G7 summit, Boris Johnson said the BBC’s funding settlement had been conditional on it continuing to fund the free licences – something the corporation disputes.
Mr Johnson told reporters at the summit in Biarritz, southern France: “The BBC received a settlement that was conditional upon their paying for TV licences for the over-75s.
“They should cough up.”
As This Writer put it at the time, it’s a typical Tory tactic.
They starved councils of funding, forcing them to cut services to the public. Who got the blame? The local authority.
They privatised huge swathes of the National Health Service, meaning that public funds were diverted into the profits of private firms and services suffered while the Tories were claiming to be increasing funding massively. Who got the blame? The NHS.
Worse still, the Tories are using this as an opportunity to introduce means-testing for over-75s. They will demand to know how much money each household receives, in order to determine whether it should have a subsidised licence.
But the idea of means-testing by asking whether households are in receipt of pension credit is fatally flawed.
Many households don’t even know they qualify for the benefit because the Conservative government hasn’t bothered to tell them.
So let’s be honest.
Boris Johnson is lying about the fact that his Conservative government is forcing pensioners aged over 75 to pay the TV licence free – including those who should be exempt but don’t know it because his government hasn’t told them.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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