Over 60s urged to cancel TV license direct debit as £ 157.50 letter goes to over 75s today
Campaign group Silver Voices wants people over 60 to ‘gum up’ the system by paying only with checks and money orders – to protest move to charge over 75s
Activists have urged those over 60 to cancel automatic debits on their TV licenses as a letter is sent to millions of seniors who now have to pay.
Campaign group Silver Voices renewed its calls for “direct action” that would see rebel retirees pay only by checks and money orders.
It is in solidarity with millions of people over the age of 75, who are starting to receive letters on how to pay for their television license starting today.
People over 75 had been eligible for a free TV license since 2000 – but the blanket exemption ended on August 1.
It is estimated that 3.7 million older people will now have to pay £ 157.50 a year to watch TV and listen to BBC radio.
The BBC has recruited an additional 800 staff to answer calls from retirees who were denied benefits on August 1.
The BBC was forced to restrict free licenses to people receiving pension credit after the government made the cash-strapped broadcaster responsible for footing the bill.
The Conservatives had previously promised to secure the advantage in the 2017 manifesto.
The Mirror fought to save the free license, with the decision to remove it sparking a backlash from activists and retirees.
We were the first to reveal in May how Silver Voices planned to use the cancellation of direct debits campaign to “wipe out” the system.
Jonathan Buckmaster / Daily Express)
Silver Voices Director Dennis Reed told us in May: “It is ruthless for the government to let this threat hang over the heads of vulnerable and isolated seniors. “
The campaign today unveiled new instructions for rebel retirees over 60 to “erase” the system out of solidarity.
They say those over 60 should write to TV Licensing to stop direct debit in protest, and future payments will only be made by check or money order, not online.
The instructions add: “When you finally get a letter from TV Licensing, demand that you can pay monthly by check (at the moment you can only pay monthly by direct debit, which is clearly discriminatory based on age) .
“Call when they refuse.
“When you end up paying for your license by check, use creative individual ways to make payments even more complicated.
“Some members suggested writing checks in the language of their choice and not checking the date or signature as carefully as usual.
“If you can’t afford to pay the full license fee by check, you can reinstate your direct debit, but cancel it again after a monthly payment and repeat the process!” “
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the BBC had provided detailed information on the changes, but warned that some older people, such as those with dementia, “would get lost in the details.”
“The population over 75 is extremely diverse, so while some will no doubt navigate the literature easily, others may find it incredibly difficult,” she said.
“At Age UK we have always said that it was a mistake on the part of the government to transfer the responsibility for the free licensing system to the BBC and that an alternate system, like the one in the company, that obliges every person over 75 years to take action was bound. be a problem and would in all likelihood end in tears. “
A BBC spokesperson said: “More than 75 households will start receiving letters on how to set up their new TV license from today.
“No one needs to do anything until they get the letter – whether it’s paying or requesting a free license – and no one needs to leave their home.
“There are now 800 specially trained agents working to help clients and we are also working with hundreds of financial councils and community organizations to reach older people directly, so they understand what the changes mean.”