The BBC will allow written submissions to a consultation which could see over 75s having to pay a license fee, after local MP John Lamont raised concern that people could only respond online.
The broadcaster has launched an online consultation on proposals which could see 12,000 over 75s in the Borders currently eligible for a concession having to pay the £150 license fee. Currently all households with an over 75 year old are eligible for an exemption.
The BBC have now said that residents can ask for a copy of the consultation by calling a freephone number (0800 232 1382) and sending it back to a free post address (Freepost, BBC Consultation).
The consultation includes a range of options from maintaining the current concession to raising the age to 80, means testing or abolishing the concession altogether.
Recent statistics show the majority of over 75 year olds (66%) do not regularly go online.
John Lamont MP said: “I am pleased that the BBC are making this consultation as easy to respond to as possible. It seemed unhelpful to exclude people who would find it difficult to complete an online form.
“I’d certainly encourage constituents to get in touch with the BBC, or they can contact my office for a paper copy of the consultation.
“It is disappointing, however, that the broadcaster is thinking about getting rid of the concession completely. I know that for some older residents, watching TV can be really beneficial in terms of wellbeing.
“I am urging the BBC to do all it can to ensure that those over the age of 75 who would struggle to pay the license fee continue to receive a discount or exemption.”
The consultation can be completed online here: https://www.bbc.com/yoursay
Constituents can also call the BBC on 0800 232 1382 to request a copy of the short survey. It can then be returned by simply putting it in an envelope addressed “Freepost, BBC Consultation.”
John previously raised this issue last week, before writing to the BBC about it: