Daily Express - 23.08.2019

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Daily Express Friday, August 23, 2019 5

DX1ST

REASONS TO SAVE FREE TV


Service


Fighting
for justice
...The
Daily
Express
has long
battled
to keep
free TV
licences
for the
over-75s

year and rising”, which it could
not afford if it wanted to continue
to make popular programmes such
as Line of Duty, Bodyguard and
Strictly Come Dancing.
But the decision to scrap the
perk comes after its accounts
showed £159million was
spent on presenter pay
last year – up almost
£11million in a
year – with Match
of the Day host
Gary Lineker
leading the way
on a £1.75million
salary.
Four-fifths of
people polled by
Age UK think the
Conservative Party
should keep its manifesto
pledge to fund free TV licences.
In June an angry delegation
from the National Pensioners
Convention marched on the BBC
to make their voices heard over
the TV licence scandal.
Outside New Broadcasting
House, the corporation’s central

London headquarters, they
chanted “Don’t Switch Us
Off” in a vocal demand for the
perk to be reinstated.
The BBC said: “We know
some veterans – and indeed
other older people – are vulnera-
ble, so will provide addi-
tional support.
“We’ve committed
to working with
organisations that
represent older
people, including
The Royal British
Legion, to help
raise the visibil-
ity of Pension
Credit.”
A Government
spokesman said:
“We’re disappointed with
the BBC’s decision – we expected
it to continue this concession.
“Taxpayers want to see the BBC
using licence fee income in an
appropriate way, including restraint
on salaries for senior staff.”

OPINION: PAGE 12

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£745m


the cost of funding


free TV licences to


the over-75s


It’s like taking a


toy from a child,


blasts war hero


A BOMBER Command
veteran has called the threat
to strip pensioners of their
free TV licence as like
“taking a toy away from a
child”.
Vic Farmer, 95, flew 31
missions in Lancaster
bombers as a navigator
during the Second World
War, when crews were lucky
to survive just a few raids.
His service included
supporting D-Day and flying
in a Lancaster nicknamed
the Daily Express after its
call sign “X”.
The retired headmaster
has lived alone near Oxted,
in Surrey, since his wife,
Queenie, passed away
aged 75 in 1997.
He said: “I live on my
own and the television
is very important to
me. It is like having
company because you
are hearing a voice and
seeing a face.
“I also find it very
interesting. I am very
choosy about what I watch
and I really like quizzes and
seeing if I can answer the
questions as well as the
contestants. But denying us a

free TV licence is like giving
a child a toy and then taking
it away.
“I risked my life for my
country. Veterans should not
have to worry about this.
“Anybody still alive who
served in the Second World
War must be in their 90s and
for them the television is
almost like a friend.
“If I had to pay for my
licence I don’t know how I
could.

“I have carers in the
morning and at night. I have
to pay for this through my
sons, who have power of
attorney. It works out at
about £800 a month.
“I would have to dip into
my limited reserves, which
have been eaten up.”
He added: “You don’t get
something for nothing. Did I
earn my free TV licence just
through my age or was it
through my military service?
If I had to pay for my licence,
I would feel hard done by.”

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Vic Farmer, with crew, and now, 91, says TV is vital after his wife died

A protest
by OAPs
showing
their
feelings
about the
licence
scandal
outside
the BBC’s
central
London
HQ in
June

By John Ingham
Defence Editor

Pictures: TIM CLARKE, PA
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