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BBC hounded more than 520,000 over-75s to pay for a TV licence during 2020


The BBC sent 525,223 letters by the end of November last year, as the country went into a second lockdown, hounding the over 75's to pay for a TV licence. 

The letters tell over-75s they either need to ‘arrange payment’ or apply for a free licence if they are entitled. 

The push to recoup licence fee cash is part of a controversial scheme which has stripped millions of pensioners of their free licences. It is now restricted to those who receive Pension Credit.

The true number of ‘reminders’ sent out is thought to be much higher than 525,223, as the corporation carried on sending them out in December.

The letter was headed ‘a reminder to set up your next licence’ and said it was ‘important’ recipients ‘respond now’ and said if they did not ‘make arrangements’ for their licence then TV Licensing ‘may need to cancel it’. 

It said it would give them a ‘bit more time’ to make arrangements. A total of 4.2million free licences were being claimed when the scheme came into effect last August.

Figures show the number of households that have still not signed up to the new scheme is about 700,000. This was higher when the letters were sent out. Many of these are said to include over-75s who refuse to pay.

The Government had been looking at plans to decriminalise TV licence fee evasion.

But this week any immediate plans to replace the criminal sanction with a civil enforcement scheme were shelved.