Warning over TV licence fines for the elderly as charity fears decriminalisation could bring bigger charges and visits from bailiffs
- Age UK has been leading the fight against plans to strip over-75s of free licences
Decriminalising the TV licence could mean the elderly end up paying higher fines and receive ‘distressing’ visits from bailiffs, according to a leading charity.
Age UK says there is no ‘clear evidence’ that changing the rules from the current set-up would result in a fairer system for ‘vulnerable’ people aged 75 and over.
The comments came in its submission to a Government consultation on whether licence fee evasion should be a criminal matter.
Age UK has been leading the fight against plans to strip over-75s of free licences.
Age UK says there is no ‘clear evidence’ that changing the rules from the current set-up of free licence fees for the elderly would result in a fairer system for ‘vulnerable’ people 75 and over
The BBC agreed to postpone the issue by two months because of Covid-19.
Age UK said that for many older people the debate about decriminalisation is a ‘side issue’ to the ‘more pressing concern’ of people losing their free licences.
It added that, while it does not condone people breaking the law, some older people had told the charity they will refuse to buy a licence and ‘face the consequences’.
The charity said: ‘While criminalisation for non-payment of the TV licence can be seen to be heavy-handed, in practice, civil action could have an even greater impact.
‘This is because civil action could result in higher fines and greater use of enforcement measures, such bailiffs, which could prove distressing.’
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