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BBC to spend ‘£100m of taxpayers’ cash chasing over-75s who don’t buy licence’

THE BBC is set to crackdown on TV licence dodgers following its decision to scrap the free licence for over-75s from August.

According to the Daily Mail, the BBC is set to spend around £100million of taxpayers’ cash chasing pensioners failing to cough up.

It reports private firm Capita is being paid another £38million to hire 800 new staff to send out letters and chase non-payers.

The company, which outsources the collection of the £157.50 annual levy for the BBC, last year received £59.9million from TV licensing.

If Capita’s overall collection contract remains the same in 2019/20, it means up to £97.9million of taxpayers’ cash could go to the firm this year.

Capita was widely criticised for using aggressive door-to-door tactics and paying staff hefty bonuses of up to £15,000 a year if they hit targets of catching 28 fee evaders a week in a Daily Mail investigation in February 2017.

It prompted the resignation of the firm’s £2.7million-a-year boss Andy Parker a month later.

The BBC has insisted no over-75s without a TV licence would be visited by enforcement staff and no on-the-spot payments would be taken during a ‘“transition period” of an unspecified length while changes are made.

But campaigners fear it is only a matter of time before vulnerable pensioners are threatened with fines, court and prosecution on their doorsteps.

Dennis Reed, director of pensioner campaign group Silver Voices, said: “It is sickening. The £100million contract with the BBC would pay for 635,000 licences for older people and the annual salary of Capita’s chief executive would pay for [another] 12,700.”

The BBC confirmed most of the 800 new staff given the task of sending letters to pensioners, answering queries and chasing payments would be employed by Capita.

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