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Stop jailing TV dodgers, say OAP group

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

A PENSIONERS group in the region is calling for TV licence fee avoidance to be decriminalised.

Dumfries and Galloway Pensioners for Independence are lobbying the UK government after BBC chief Tony Hall proposed to scrap the current licence fee exemption for over 75s.

A spokesman said: “The BBC can afford to pay some of their stars£1,750,000, while Lord Hall himself is paid £205,000 a year. Pensioners get £125.95 a week. UK pensioners suffer from the lowest rate of pensions in the developed world. They suffer more than most from the lack of rural transport, bank closures and lack of retail outlets. Care providers are increasingly under threat. For many the television provides their only distraction and light on the outside world.”

Responding to Lord Hall’s comment that those over 65 and 75 “consume many more TV services than others”, the group spokesman added: “We’ve been told we live too long. We’ve been told we use the NHS too much. We’ve been told we didn’t save enough. Now we’ve been told we watch too much TV!”

They highlighted that last year there were 180,000 prosecutions for TV licence avoidance and their spokesman added: “If the BBC wants to act with a cavalier disregard for its social obligations it should lose the protection of the criminal justice system and be forced to seek redress like any other commercial business.”

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