MPs rap BBC over licence fee debt collectors: More than 20 politicians sign letter to Tim Davie calling for ‘immediate halt’ to bill-chasing during lockdown
- Tory MP Jonathan Gullis wrote a letter to BBC director-general Tim Davie
- The letter called for the ‘immediate halt’ of debt collections during lockdown
- BBC confirmed TV Licensing are not visiting older households registered over 75
A letter written to BBC director-general Tim Davie by Tory MP Jonathan Gullis, thought to be backed by 22 MPs, calls for an ‘immediate halt’ to all debt recollection.
It is understood that as of yesterday the BBC had not yet received the letter. It follows reports that employees at Capita, which runs the BBC’s licence fee collection operation, are visiting people to get them to pay up during lockdown.
Reports suggested employees at Capita, which runs the BBC’s licence fee collection operation, are visiting people to get them to pay up during lockdown
The BBC’s ‘unjust’ and ‘unprincipled’ use of debt collectors to ‘harass vulnerable people’ during lockdown must stop, MPs have said. Pictured: BBC director-general Tim Davie
The letter says: ‘The BBC is continuing to prosecute and harass vulnerable people and families during the lockdown.
‘Allowing Capita to continue sending debt collectors to knock on doors during this pandemic is unjust, unprincipled and far below what is expected of the British public service broadcaster.’
It adds: ‘It is also highly irresponsible for Capita employees to enter homes… in the middle of a major pandemic.
‘This immoral campaign of persecuting and harassing the poorest in our society during the unprecedented battle with Covid-19 must stop immediately.’
Tory MP Jonathan Gullis, thought to be backed by 22 MPs, calls for an ‘immediate halt’ to all debt recollection
A BBC spokesman said: ‘TV Licensing are not visiting older households registered as having held a free over-75s licence.
‘From early August visits resumed to unlicensed homes after a number of strict safety measures were introduced, including mandatory face coverings, social distancing and staff not entering people’s homes.’
Rebecca Ryan, campaign director of lobby group Defund the BBC, said: ‘It is outrageous that the BBC are continuing to pursue debt collection through Capita, during a national lockdown.
‘It isn’t just immoral, as so many people across the country are facing unemployment and serious economic hardship because of the virus, but it is a health hazard to send debt collectors into people’s homes.’