UK news BBC slammed for TV licence letters blitz amid pandemic last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - The BBC has issued almost a million letters to homes here since the first lockdown threatening people with heavy fines for not having a TV licence.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "The BBC has issued almost a million letters to homes here since the first lockdown threatening people with heavy fines for not having a TV licence. Households are still being chased - sometimes every couple of weeks - for the £157.50 fee, even while society remains shut down and many are out of work.It can also be revealed that more than 1,000 people have been hauled through the courts for not having a TV licence since last March.It has led to calls for a more compassionate approach at a time when many are struggling financially and emotionally.People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said: "It is morally repugnant that during a global pandemic the BBC sees no issue with sending threatening letters which endorse court proceedings for people who cannot pay their TV licence."The licence, which rises to £159 from April, is required by households watching or recording programmes while they are being broadcast, including streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.Free TV licences for over-75s were abolished last August.The BBC contracts TV Licensing inspectors for collection and enforcement, with most debt collection duties farmed out to Capita. Those whose cases are pursued risk a court prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 plus costs and an offender levy.Between March 16 and December 31 last year, 1,133 defendants were dealt with by courts here for not having a TV licence - 256 were found not guilty.TV licence offences accounted for around 6% of the 18,586 cases disposed of by Magistrates Courts in this time. In some cases the offences will have occurred prior to last March.Court lists show that TV licence cases are still happening, with cases listed locally over the next week.Meanwhile, the BBC is pushing families to pay up, with more than 3,000 letters sent every day to households here.The letters, emblazoned with red capital letters, threaten that inspectors are investigating why that address has no licence and warning of a potential £1,000 fine.The BBC said 945,994 letters were sent from March to the end of December to unlicensed addresses.The figures refer to letters sent, not the number of addresses mailed, as unlicensed addresses are likely to receive multiple letters. Some homes receive several letters a month.The BBC admitted correspondence has been sent to the homes that previously held a free over-75s licence, but said these were not enforcement letters.
News source = PremierLeague-News.Com
.5m letters have been sent since last March.West Belfast MLA Mr Carroll said many people would be angered by the heavy-handed approach.He added: "We are in the middle of an Earth-shattering pandemic that has left more and more people destitute. People have lost wages and their jobs and we have witnessed a rise in people using food banks."The upper management of the BBC seem oblivious or immune to the pressures faced by most communities during the pandemic, otherwise why would they issue these letters?"I also have to question why the scheduling of TV licence cases is seen as urgent during a pandemic, when we still have so many other cases of injustice still not heard in the courts."The BBC confirmed the number of letters issued to households has been increasing year-on-year.In 2016/17, 977,803 letters were sent to addresses here, rising to 1,243,425 by 2019/20. Around the UK, it increased from 28,592,886 in 2016/17 to 34,301,989 in 2019/20.Explaining its enforcement procedures, the BBC said: "'TV Licensing' is a trade mark used by companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system."The majority of the administration of TV Licensing is contracted to Capita Business Services Limited ('Capita')."TV Licensing said: "We recognise this is a tough time for people and offer many ways to pay including weekly cash payment schemes."Last year we launched a new payment plan giving greater flexibility if payments are missed to help support customers. We also worked with almost 500 third sector organisations across the UK to offer advice to people who might be struggling to pay for their licence."It said letters are "a cost-effective way to inform people of changes to their licence and encourage those who need to buy a licence to do so".It added that all visiting is currently suspended in line with coronavirus restrictions, and no visits have been authorised to anyone who previously held a free over-75s licence.The Department of Justice said it was unable to stop court cases.It explained: "TV licensing is a non-devolved matter. Decisions to prosecute in relation to TV licenses are, therefore, a matter for TV Licensing."In accordance with guidance issued by the Lord Chief Justice, court hearings are being held remotely where possible.""
"isAccessibleForFree": "False","cssSelector": "#flip-pay"}
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com