The National Pulse

BBC Uses Coronavirus to Stop Viewers Cancelling Their ‘Licence Fee’ Payment

As a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the publicly-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has closed down the part of its website that allows members of the publicto opt out.

At a time when trust in Britain’s effective state broadcaster is at an all-time low, and people are trying to cut unnecessary spending from their household budgets, the ‘Beeb’ is refusing to allow cancellations of Britain’s much-derided “television licence”.

Although it is now impossible to cancel a TV licence on the BBC’s website., it is not impossible to buy a new one. The coronavirus doesn’t appear to have affected that function.

Nor did it affect the ability to review your payment plan, renew an existing licence, make changes to it, or even change the way someone can pay for it.

Miraculously none of the functions where the BBC receives money has been affected, just the bit where the BBC must return it.

Amazingly enough, the BBC’s ability to send out renewal letters or “reminders” too has escaped the clutches of the virus, and so “customers” can be assured they will receive demands for payment when they fall due.

DO BRITS REALLY NEED A LICENCE TO WATCH TV?

Yes. Or rather, sort of.

The establishment would have you believe that you must have a television licence in the United Kingdom, though many have found ways to opt-out over the past few years.

If you are in the UK and you watch live television, you are told to pay the BBC a fee which amounts to over $5bn a year in revenue for the liberal-left broadcaster which makes CNN look positively far right. 

Failure to comply is a criminal offence.

For example, in Britain you could be watching “I Love Lucy” on one of the commercial channels. But it doesn’t matter that the program is a repeat, nor that you are watching it on a channel that is a competitor of the BBC. If it is being broadcast live you must still pay the BBC their fee. And if you don’t – criminal prosecution. And if you refuse to pay the fine – imprisonment.

Yes, in the UK you can actually go to prison for watching a rerun that’s older than you.

In 2013 the BBC reported a tenth of all criminal prosecutions in the UK were for licence fee evasion – 181,000 people.

WAR ON WOMEN?

By 2015 the number was 184,595, of which 140,000 were taken to court, where an astonishing 101,000 women were found guilty and 90 were jailed.

In 2016, 107,000 women were given a criminal record for failing to pay money to the BBC – amounting to 71.9 per cent of the total number prosecuted.

Why are so many women persecuted?

The BBC has outsourced the collection of licence fees to a private company called Capita, with remuneration determined upon results, meaning the more licence fee evaders Capita catch, the more money they make.

Catching is primarily achieved through intimidation: first a torrent of threatening letters and if that doesn’t work – home visits. Thus it simply makes business sense to target those people more inclined to respond to threats. The BBC proudly “advertises” its Stasi-like enforcement of the licence fee. 

There was a time the BBC was a widely respected institution. Those days have long gone.

It is now an organisation bedeviled by contradiction. British, but ashamed of Britain. Obsessed with diversity, but rigidly singular of mind and thought.

Insularity is a sickness that riddles the BBC and although they don’t know it yet, it is terminal.

This can perhaps be best illustrated by the fact that on the historic night of Britain leaving the European Union (Something 17.4 million Brits had voted and were waiting for), the BBC was so out of touch that it refused to broadcast the Prime Minister’s speech to the nation.

The leader of a Conservative government admittedly disliked by the BBC, but whom the British people had just voted for in a landslide.

Britain’s broadcaster has taken a decidedly pro-Chinese Communist Party line throughout the coronavirus pandemic, regurgitating criticisms of President Trump and promoting false Chinese data as accurate.

But still, they want you to pay the licence fee, or they’ll send one of the vans around.

Terry David Jones

Terry David Jones is a writer and producer. He is a 2020 National Pulse Writing Fellow