Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Make Sixteen Percent Less Shit Then

According to the BBC Trust, they're going to have to start paying for the over 75s to have a TV licence.

At the moment, the cost of this - £556m - is paid for by the Department of Work & Pensions. I wasn't aware that the Government had to actually pay for the over 75s to have a TV licence, I had (stupidly) assumed that they would just send out a different piece of paper with "FREE TV LICENCE" written on it that pensioners could hang on their wall. Or maybe, put a tick in a box on a spreadsheet so that the TV Licensing people wouldn't go round and bother them. You know, something cost-effective like that.

Now I've just worked out that means there must be at least 3.8m people in the UK who are over 75 and receiving a free TV licence. This seems to be in line with the TV Licensing people who say; "At the end of March 2009 approximately 3.97 million free over 75 TV Licences were in issue at a cost of approximately £518.9 million to the Department for Work and Pensions."

According to this document there were 4.7 million people in the UK aged 75 and over in 2006. The number is projected to increase to 5.5 million by 2016 and to 8.2 million by 2031, a rise of 76 per cent over twenty-five years. So the amount of money the BBC is going to have to "pay" for the free licences is going to increase heartily.

Although I think the number of people over 75 getting a TV licence seems to be somewhat high. Given that a fair amount of over 75s live in sheltered accommodation or in residential care (400,000 according to this report) or are in hospital - and the TV Licence for those places are either at a reduced rate or paid for completely by the care home or hospital - and you'd think a fair number of over 75s live together as part of a couple, where are all these over 75s who are living alone?

It's almost as if there's some sort of scam going on. "Yeah, my mother lives with us, we need to have a free TV licence." Free TV Licence appears, mother gets carted off to a nursing home. The BBC/TV Licensing people check mother isn't dead, free TV licence continues for many more years at a place where she doesn't live.

For some reason, I thought the BBC also got some money from the Government on top of receiving the licence fee. I didn't think it was from the DWP, as previously admitted. No idea what I was thinking, but it seems they get the licence fee only. I say "only", that came to £3.45bn in 2009/10. Yes, £3.45 BILLION. I'm going to guess that that figure includes the contested half a billion from the DWP.

So this is, essentially, the BBC complaining about not getting the full amount of licence fee from the Government because the Government will no longer be paying for the over 75s to have a TV Licence. They'd still be getting £2.9bn from the rest of the licence payers, plus however much money they make from their various commerical arms (sales abroad, DVD sales, tie-in merchandise etc)

A BBC Trust spokeswoman said it would be "unacceptable" for licence fee payers to foot the bill. "Anything at this stage is speculation as we have yet to see the detail of the Spending Review. That said it would be unacceptable for licence fee payers to pick up the bill for what is a Department for Work and Pensions universal benefit," she added. Newsnight's Political Editor Michael Crick added increases in the licence fee were unlikely to cover the cost, which was the equivalent of a 16% cut in the BBC's present budget.

Dear BBC, I have some suggestions. Send 16% less people to Glastonbury/Olympics/"major news event abroad". Stop paying stupidly high salaries to presenters (you might lose more twunts like Adrian Chiles that way). Move out of London (side benefit, London regional news stops being presented as national news). Oh, and finally, make 16% less shit than you currently do.

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Blogger John Emberson said...

I cannot help but ask the question: Did the government decide that over 75s will be entitled to a free television licence or was it the BBC? And am I being naïve here in suggesting that should it have been the former then the former should be the one to cough up the readies?
On the subject of quality of programming, I agree that there is on a daily basis a hefty serving of merde on the BBC, but it pales into insignificance when compared with the utter tripe offered by most commercial television channels.
And, Adrian Chiles’ departure from the Beeb could have been an even sweeter treat had Chris Evans accompanied him.


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