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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Can we have our money back please, Mr Hall?

The BBC likes to say that they would lose a lot of money if non-payment of the licence fee was decriminalised. Perhaps, but if they are that sensitive, perhaps they would like to consider repaying some of the money the government pays them to broadcast to the dead. Here is the BBC position on refunds:

What to do if the licence holder dies

The death of someone is always a difficult time. We try and make it as simple as possible to make the necessary changes to the TV Licence.

If a TV Licence is still needed at the address

Anyone who was living with the deceased licence holder will still be covered by the current TV Licence. If the licence is not a Free Over 75 TV Licence, please send a short statement in writing that the licensee has died. Please also let us know the name of the person still residing at the address. Future correspondence about the licence will be addressed to them.
The address to write to is:
Customer Services
TV Licensing
DL98 1TL
A copy of the death certificate is not required.
If the bank account details for the Direct Debit need to be changed, please enclose these with the same letter. The bank account holder must also sign the letter.

If the licence is a Free Over 75 TV Licence

A Free Over 75 TV Licence will remain valid for that year. In the following year the person still residing at the address will have to renew the licence. If that person is, or will be, over 75 years old by the time of renewal then it is best to apply now for their Free Over 75 TV Licence. You can do this by using acontact form to tell us their name, date of birth and National Insurance number. If the person still residing at the address will not be over 75 then we just need to know their name. We will send a renewal at the appropriate time.
You can also call us with the details on 0300 790 6131. Find out more information on call centre opening times.

If the TV Licence needs to be cancelled

If the licence is not a Free Over 75 TV Licence there may be a refund due to the estate. Refunds are given on any quarters (3, 6 or 9 months) left on the licence. Please complete an online refund form if you are an executor for the estate.
To just cancel the licence, please use a contact form to provide the title, initial, last name, address and licence number (where possible) of the deceased person.

If the licence is a Free Over 75 TV Licence

We’ll simply cancel the over 75 TV Licence. Please use a contact form to tell us the name, address and TV Licence number (where possible) of the deceased person. As the Over 75 licence is issued free of charge, there is no refund.
See that? Nothing to repay for the dead Over 75s, because it is issued "free of charge". Actually not so. It may be free to the user, but it costs the government (i.e. tax payers) £550 million to pay for the licenses of the over 75s. With an average life expectancy of 5 years, that implies a 20% chance of dying in any given year or 10% of the license going unused.

That is a £55 million annual windfall to the BBC in unrefunded license fees.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Solving two problems for the price of one #4

A funding crisis and increased demand for care means general practice as patients know it in the UK is "under severe threat of extinction", the head of the Royal College of GPs has warned.
The royal college's president, Dr Maureen Baker, said failing to properly fund GP surgeries could have an impact on the sustainability of the NHS.
Some practices were already closing due to lack of staff, she said.
The Department of Health said it recognised the "vital" job GPs do.
Fraud is costing the NHS £5bn a year, with a further £2bn lost to errors, the former head of its anti-fraud section says.
The amount lost to fraud alone could pay for nearly 250,000 new nurses, a report seen by Panorama suggests.
The NHS must "get on with tackling the problem", said Jim Gee, co-author of the Portsmouth University study and ex-director of NHS Counter Fraud Services.
The Department of Health said it "did not recognise" the figures.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Solving 2 problems for the price of one #3

We seem to be spending a lot of time and effort banning lots of Russian bureaucrats fromtravelling to the EU and the US and making orders to freeze assets that they don't hold here and over which we have no control.

The Russians, on the other hand, have stopped reciprocating because they can see that the whole exercise is more trouble than it is worth.

Which is a shame, and a danger to the West, because it allows the Russians to bear a grudge. It is a boil that needs to be lanced, by  a pointless act of vindictive retribution. Hopefully one that can set the Russians in a good light and show them as a nation that we can work with.

I suggest a Russian ban on travel by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and a freezing of their assets. I might even start a campaign on Facebook.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Solving 2 problems for the price of one #2

A tidal barrage at Bridgwater and dredging on the Somerset Levels form part of a £100m capital plan to combat flooding, the BBC understands. Villages on the Levels have been cut off for more than two months following the wettest winter on record.BBC Three is to be dropped from TV schedules and will move online, as part of the BBC's cost-cutting plans. The channel's service budget was £85m in 2013/14 - although moving the channel online would not eradicate those annual costs entirely.
I think I may have an answer

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Solving 2 problems for the price of one

Many parents in Britain are paying more for childcare annually than the average mortgage bill, according to a report. The Family and Childcare Trust's annual report says average fees for one child in part-time nursery and another in an after-school club are £7,549 per year. Full-time childcare cost for a family with a two-year-old and a five-year-old child are estimated at £11,700 a year. The report compares the costs to the average annual UK mortgage payment, which was estimated at £7,207 in 2012.Two-thirds of households in England affected by the bedroom tax have fallen into rent arrears since the policy was introduced in April, while one in seven families have received eviction risk letters and face losing their homes, a survey claims. The National Housing Federation (NHF) said its survey demonstrated that the bedroom tax was "heaping misery and hardship" on already struggling families who were unable to pay their rent but unable to find anywhere cheaper to live because of a shortage of smaller homes.

I think I may have an answer