Tag Archives: licence fee

Blame shifting Tories accuse BBC over end of free licences for over-75s

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.

Now this.

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.

Source: BBC to end free licences for over-75s next month | The Independent

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tories split over plot to destroy the BBC

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and a fat lot of good it did the BBC! De facto Tory leader Dominic Cummings wants the BBC privatised and he has employed ‘Minister for Murdoch’ John Whittingdale to do it.

Days after the man formerly known as the Minister for Murdoch returned to the government, unelected leader Dominic Cummings has apparently declared war on the BBC.

It seems Cummings was just waiting to get the right man for the job – and the well-connected Whittingdale fitted the bill perfectly.

So it fell to The Sunday Times to herald the forthcoming assault on our national broadcaster:

“Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

“In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

“The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

“● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

“● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

“● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

  • “Scale back the BBC website
  • “Invest more in the BBC World Service”

It’s an interesting plan – especially, as Zelo Street points out, considering the fact that the BBC’s current agreement with the government runs until 2027, three years after the current Tory government’s term runs out.

Cummings is either incredibly confident of getting a new term with his puppet Boris Johnson, or he’s sure that Tory plants in the Labour Party will keep it riven by controversy and unable to mount a meaningful challenge.

That blog also points out that the plan has not been properly thought through: how can the government expect to dictate that BBC stars can’t have second jobs if they become part of a subscription service that is independent?

The announcement has provoked considerable debate online – and a clear contradiction has emerged in that most of those who oppose the BBC are only angry with it’s pro-Tory current affairs bias. It would be lunacy to think the Tories are going to create more balance!

(It’s worth pointing out that Raj Ganesh – above – considers the Conservative Party to be left wing and may therefore be considered a far-right extremist. That’s the kind of person who really hates the BBC. But expect also his phrase “telly tax” to catch on – Tories love that kind of thing.)

But it seems the plan does not have wholehearted support – even within Conservative Party ranks. Sure, some have described it as “Tory vandalism”…

… and, sure, some Tories have helped undermine the BBC and are now using the results of their own actions as reasons to attack it again…

… but some are standing by it:

Before anybody jumps in and tries to rubbish Mr Green’s opinion because of his past connection with certain forms of online… entertainment… let’s just remember that Whittingdale had a relationship with a female sex worker that only ended when he discovered the story was likely to be sold to the tabloid press.

And Mr Green isn’t alone, anyway. The Independent reports:

“Huw Merriman, another Conservative MP who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also warned that the corporation should “not be a target”.

“Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘it feels as if senior government aides are now ramping up an unedifying vendetta against this much-admired corporation’.

“A third Tory MP, Damian Collins, a former chair of the Commons culture committee, added: “No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

“’This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers. The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions.’”

The consensus among Tory opponents of the plan is that it will cost the party votes.

Personally, I don’t think that will stop Dominic Cummings.

He wants to smash everything of “cultural importance”, as Steve Coogan put it, to the UK. He’ll happily sell the lot to foreign investors and see all the money we earn dribble abroad, reducing the UK to Third World status. The NHS is set to be privatised, with the profit-making parts sold off to the US, remember.

Now why would a patriotic UK citizen want to do such a thing?

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

BBC spits in supporters’ faces with huge pay rises while forcing OAPs to pay licence fee

I was willing to support the BBC over the licence fee controversy, because it’s the Tory government that is forcing pensioners aged over 75 to pay.

But this new move by the Corporation makes no sense at all.

In a move that seems intended to push supporters away, BBC bosses have announced wage hikes averaging nearly £7,000 per person and accounting for a £7.9 million slice of the licence fee.

The money could have paid the £154.50 annual licences for around 51,000 pensioners.

This is not responsible use of the licence fee when people whose annual income is only slightly more than this pay rise are being forced to fund huge income increases for already very rich BBC employees.

BBC bosses are under fire after it was revealed staff received bumper pay rises while free TV licences are being withdrawn to the over-75s.

Salary increases of between 10% and 20% were handed to 889 staff – and 256 were given more than 20%.

The news has been blasted by campaigners for OAP rights.

Source: BBC dishes out over 1,000 huge pay rises while it axes pensioners’ TV licences – Mirror Online

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Government forces BBC to fund political policies – then demands biased news reporting

131029bbcbias

Former BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland is right to warn that the corporation is fast becoming an arm of the Conservative Government.

He was referring to the Tories’ plan to make the BBC fund their policy of free TV licences, which follows the transfer of the cost of the BBC World Service and BBC Monitoring to the Corporation. According to The Independent, it amounts to shifting £650m from the Government’s Budget to the BBC.

Not only that, but the Conservative Government has asked the BBC to change the way it reports stories about the militant group Isis – introducing overt political bias into its newsgathering.

Chris Grayling, Leader of the Commons, said the BBC should take the side of the UK – meaning the Conservative Government – in international conflicts.

“During the Second World War, the BBC was a beacon of fact, it was not expected to be impartial between Britain and Germany,” he told parliament.

“Rather subtly and unattractively it draws the BBC closer to becoming an arm of government which is always something that the BBC and government have resisted,” Sir Christopher told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.

“It’s the worst form of dodgy Whitehall accounting. It’s transferring social policy onto the licence fees and it’s shifting from direct taxation where it properly belongs the cost of a Gordon Brown giveaway that was doubtful in the first place anyhow.” [In his opinion]

George Osborne, speaking to Andrew Marr, came up with a pitifully weak defence of this offloading of responsibility onto the BBC: That it is publicly-funded.

He said: “The BBC is also a publicly funded, public institution and so it does need to make savings and contribute to what we need to do as a country to get our house in order.”

It doesn’t work like that, George!

If you want the BBC to pay for your policies – in effect, charging our public service broadcaster a tax to provide government policies – you need to give the BBC a say in what those policies are.

The principle is simple: No taxation without representation.

Otherwise, you should leave it alone.

The principle of public funding is intended to ensure that the BBC remains impartial, but you are trying to undermine it. Why?

Would the real reason have anything to do with your friend, Mr Murdoch?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Who is the fool who chose Grant Shapps to question BBC trustworthiness?

Shapps v BBC: Take a look at the name on his tag and ask yourself who you think is more trustworthy.

Shapps v BBC: Take a look at the name on his tag and ask yourself who you think is more trustworthy.

Sometimes you have to wonder if the Conservatives are just having a laugh. Admittedly, the jokes would be sick, but it seems the only logical explanation for some of their decisions.

Take the latest attack on the BBC. A Conservative spokesman has said the Corporation should face a cut in its licence fee or be forced to share it with other broadcasters unless it rebuilds public trust after receiving bad publicity over payouts to top executives and the way it handled the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Unfortunately, the spokesman himself is Tory Chairman Grant Shapps, a man who has his own issues in the same area and who is known to have used at least two false identities for shady reasons.

As ‘Michael Green’, in the run-up to the 2005 election and afterwards, he “charged clients £183 an hour for advice on how to make money from the web as well as offering tips on how to beat the recession blues, including splashing out on a jet-ski or learning to play the guitar,” according to the Daily Mail. Apparently he said his use of the name was to keep his business interests separate from his future political work, but he ended his involvement with that business in 2009, four years after he entered Parliament.

‘Sebastian Fox’ was another alias he used on Howtocorp, the web publishing company he created in 2000.

The two aliases were enough for people to make a connection with ‘Chuck Champion’ of a website called Howtopickupwomennow – but the evidence suggests it is unlikely that this is yet another pseudonym. Besides, the two we already had were enough to make the point that the BBC has no need to accept lectures about trust from Grant Shapps.

Of the BBC (and on the BBC News website) Mr Shapps/Green/Fox said: “They have ended up working in this culture which is buried in the last century, which is ‘we are the BBC, we do what we like, we don’t have to be too accountable’.

“But they are raising £3.6bn through the licence fee, which is a tax, and, quite rightly, the public wants to have sight of how the money is spent. Things like the pay-offs have really caused concern, as have, obviously, things like Savile and [Stuart] Hall [currently in prison for sex offences against young girls) and the culture that goes around that. I think it is one of too much secrecy,” said the man who hid his own business affairs behind false names for the first four years of his Parliamentary career.

Shapps said the BBC should open its books to inspection by the National Audit Office, and open itself up to Freedom of Information requests. He added that there was a “question of credibility” for the BBC over whether it applied “fairness” to its reporting of politics.

How interesting that last point is.

Regarding the bulk of the Shapps complaints, the BBC was quick to point out that the NAO already has full access to the BBC, except for its editorial decisions, and that in 2012 the Corporation responded to more than 1,600 FoI requests and volunteered information on hundreds more subjects.

Then we come to that interesting last point. The BBC spokesman said: “Mr Shapps is right that transparency is key to the future of the BBC. So is its freedom from political pressure.” (Italics mine)

It seems bizarre that the chairman of the Conservative Party should be complaining about the fairness of BBC political reporting. He can only be doing this to imply that the BBC is biased against the Conservatives – but we know that this has already been investigated and the opposite was found to be true.

As reported by this blog in August: “The BBC has a broadly right-wing bias. The study showed that the government of the day generally gets more airtime than anyone else (natural considering it is making policy and actually carrying out the business of government) but in reporting of immigration, the EU and religion, in 2007 Gordon Brown’s appearances on the BBC outnumbered David Cameron’s by less than two to one, while in 2012, Cameron’s outnumbered Ed Miliband’s by around four to one. The same ratios occurred for other prominent members of each party. When reporting of all topics is taken into account, Conservative politicians were featured more than 50 per cent more often than those from Labour in both 2007 AND 2012.”

So now the real motive behind the Shapps attack becomes clear. He wants to coerce the BBC into an even more slavish adherence to the Conservative Party line than it has already, with the threat of losing its monopoly of the licence fee hanging over it.

And he wants to get the public on-side by pushing the discredited claim that the BBC is a den of Lefties.

You’ll have noticed, Dear Reader, that Shapps has not referred directly to any individual news stories. Are we to take it that he opposes the BBC’s failure to report the anti-Tory demonstration outside the Conservative Party conference on September 29? More than three times as many people turned up for that (50,000) as there were delegates in the conference, if I recall correctly.

The Shapps intervention has already received the lack of respect it deserves on the social media. “I see Grant Shapps now loudly slagging off the BBC so we’re all diverted from Hunt’n’Gove systematically destroying the NHS and Education,” Tweeted one member of the Great British public. See recent Vox Political articles for the facts behind those words.

And cartoonist Martin Rowson put the whole affair in context: “Does everyone know that unbelievably fatuous poltroon @grantshapps is Cousin of Mick Jones of The Clash? Weird, huh? Though not as weird as this meretricious delusional oaf thinking anyone ever takes anything he’s ever said ever more seriously than a pool of puppy sick.”