Author Topic: Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?  (Read 427 times)

Offline Sao Paulo

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Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?
« on: December 27, 2018, 12:32:21 PM »

MPs have just begun their 17-day parliamentary recess and, while many of them will still be working hard for their constituents over the Christmas break, they do, like the rest of us, deserve a holiday. But what may seem surprising to some voters is that, amid the row over the funding of free TV licences for the elderly, it has emerged that MPs are themselves entitled to claim the cost of a licence from the taxpayer.

Of course, they don’t all claim the perk, and in the context of the billions of pounds of public money the Treasury spends every year, the total of £8,855 clawed back by the 53 MPs who did claim it, on top of other office expenses, is a drop in the ocean. But among those who claimed are the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, whose brief covers the BBC, and his predecessor Karen Bradley. And at a time when the over-75s face losing their free TV licences, this will seem out of step with the mood of the country.

Looking for cuts

The row has erupted because the government is, from 2020, passing over responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over-75s – which costs £720million a year – to the BBC. The corporation is understandably looking at ways to fund this huge sum, at a time when its commercial competitors like Netflix can outspend the BBC on lavish productions.

I personally think the £150.50 a year cost of a TV licence is incredible value for money on the basis of even a handful of series in this year alone – such as Bodyguard, The Little Drummer Girl and Killing Eve. So when it comes to the crunch in 2020, we TV viewers have a choice – do we want to pay an above-inflation rise in our TV licence to carry on subsidising it for free for the over-75s, or do we accept that the BBC has to, under duress from the Conservative government, either raise the age threshold to, say, 80, or start charging wealthier pensioners?

If we want the BBC to continue to produce award-winning programmes and news, it has to be funded somehow. It is a tough choice, but a huge increase in the cost for all TV licence payers would amount to a regressive tax on those on the lowest incomes, while the wealthiest over-75s would continue to be unaffected.

No more freebies for MPs

In this context, the first step must be for MPs to surrender their own TV licence freebie. It is nearly a decade since the expenses scandal humbled parliament and forced our representatives to be more frugal with our money. They receive salaries of nearly £80,000 a year, well above the national average, and can claim for legitimate office expenses. But we are not only 10 years on from the expenses scandal but 10 years into a tough economy.

The ongoing stalemate over Brexit may have stolen parliamentary and government hours from other urgent business, but the country is struggling to support its poorest: universal credit reforms are hurting those most in need, social care remains one of the biggest challenges the nation faces and yet ministers cannot find the time to deal with it, and homelessness is at crisis levels – the death of a homeless person on the literal doorstep of parliament this week underlining yesterday’s shocking figures that 597 people died on the streets last year. So much of politics is about perception, and it is time for MPs to make this small sacrifice.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons they wont just abolish it, they get them paid for plus all the freebies from the BBC
Appreciate the help and help information found here.  Why not tell your friends and family so they know their rights when it comes to BBC TV Licensing……………….you know it makes sense

Offline Necronomica

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Re: Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2018, 03:12:36 PM »
I wish they'd stop prattling on about homeless deaths....

“Our findings show a pattern of deaths among homeless people that is strikingly different from the general population. For example, homeless people tend to die younger and from different causes. The average age of death last year was 44 years, with 84 per cent of all deaths being men. More than half were related to drug poisoning, suicide, or alcohol, causes that made up only 3 per cent of overall deaths last year.”

When most of them are smackheads or drunks that choose to live on the streets then they can't really complain. I find myself looking in disgust at the volunteers from the homelessness charities as they hand out supplies to the hobos in Leeds City Centre every night. I remember being told as a kid to not feed the pigeons or they keep coming back...

As for the free TV licences, they'll be for the 2nd properties. It's the government's fault for allowing the TV licence to be site specific and not person/family specific, like services such as Netflix are, so they should pay for it as part of the expenses. Why should someone pay multiple licences when they aren't getting anything extra for it?

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Offline Lord Hall-Hall

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Re: Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2018, 05:06:15 PM »
A better argument would be, why should MPs have to buy a second TV licence for their accommodation whilst away from home on business. Most companies will may for a hotel stay if their employees are working a long way from home, MPs in second homes are little different. This is could be classed as an argument for subscription, where an MP takes his home licence with him. It works well for Netflix etc.

I do have a problem with MPs buying a luxurious second home, profiting from it, and using expenses to maintain the duck pond moat, but that is a different matter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
"This is what you do all the time.  What you do is you threaten people.
 You always threaten people." - John Sweeney, senior BBC journalist.

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