TV licence fee: Jonathan Gullis criticises BBC
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MPs attacked the corporation for imposing fees on the over 75s while continuing to pay sky high salaries for presenters. The broadcaster was also accused of leaving Brexit supporters feeling “belittled” in the wake of the EU referendum. Conservative Jonathan Gullis said: “Stars like Sue Perkins have labelled Leave voters as headbangers and zealots and Gary Lineker, a well known remoaner, saying Britain had won the golden dumbass award.
“Despite this clear breach of impartiality rules nothing happened and people in places like Stoke felt ostracised and belittled.”
MPs spoke out in Parliament after an online petition calling for the TV Licence, which rises to £159 in April, to be axed.
Mr Gullis ran a survey on his website for his constituents on the charge and 96 per cent of the 3,000 respondents said it must go.
He told the corporation the results were an “urgent wake up call that something must change”.
Mr Gullis said the corporation continues to “cave to wokery of the left” instead of representing the country.
“In a year that has seen many struggling to put food on the table and to keep up with rental payments, our family friendly BBC has continued to pay virtue signalling presenters like Gary Lineker a sky high salary.
“In a year that has seen grandparents cut off from their loved ones, isolated and alone, the BBC decided it’s best to scrap the licence fee for the over 75s.
“This has caused some serious concerns and stress for the over 75s, who now face being taken to court, fined and even getting a criminal record if they don’t pay up.”
The BBC took over responsibility for the free over 75s licence in a negotiation it described as a “good deal” before going on to scrap the perk.
Conservative Damian Collins said he supports the licence but the broadcaster “should have honoured” its promise to keep it free for the over 75s.
Tory MP Ben Bradley said he did not believe the corporation was genuinely biased but warned it suffered from groupthink because its staff are drawn from the same background.
He said the licence fee is “outdated” and courts are clogged up with cases on non-payers.
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Culture minister John Whittingdale said the government “remains disappointed” that the BBC scrapped the free licence for the over 75s.
But he warned axing the fee altogether may lead to tougher sanctions against non-payers, with bailiffs turning up at their door instead of it being dealt with by the courts.
Mr Whittingdale said at the last review the licence was found to still be the best way of funding the corporation but “it may well be when we come to the next charter we need to look at alternatives”.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices said the debate revealed the “massive support” we have across political parties for the campaign to restore free TV licences for the over 75s.
“Although there was not majority support in favour of the petition to revoke the TV licence, 80 per cent of the MPs who spoke were critical of scrapping the free licence, whether or not they supported the BBC as a public broadcaster,” he added.
Silver Voices’ campaign to force the Government and the BBC to reach a solution to this dispute will continue until the obvious cross-party political pressure in our favour produces a U-turn.”
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