Pensioner says she'll 'go to jail' over BBC TV licence fee
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More than one million people were left without a Freeview signal when a 1,000ft transmitter caught fire in North Yorkshire in August.
Despite the operator working around the clock to restore services, thousands of people still don’t have a signal more than two months later.
Although the issue has been fixed for around 95 percent of households affected, it’s thought more than 40,000 homes could still be without a signal.
Anyone who has been unable to receive Freeview TV coverage for more than a month can claim a partial refund.
If they haven’t been able to access BBC iPlayer or any live TV they should get in touch with TV Licensing and ask for a refund for the time they haven’t been able to watch it.
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Operator Arqiva said a temporary 80m mast has restored service for around 95 percent of homes.
The company has apologised and sent out £50 Curry’s vouchers to each household, so they can buy a streaming device that will allow them to connect to the internet on their TV.
Arqiva chief executive Paul Donovan said the company is also working with charities to offer support and advice to vulnerable people who are still without coverage.
The company has received more than 8,500 calls and more than 41,000 people have accessed a website which was set up by the company to provide guidance.
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Figures show that more than half a million British households are missing out on a free TV licence which could save them £159 a year.
This is according to research by charity Turn2Us which shows approximately 589,000 people are not claiming their free TV licence.
The fee is halved if someone in the household is blind or impacted by a severe sight-impairment.
Additionally, there is no cost for a TV licence if someone is 75 years old and receiving Pension Credit.
One in three people who are entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it which also means they are missing out on their entitlement to a free TV licence.
Pensioners are the least likely to look into what benefits they can claim – 63 percent of them have never checked – despite the fact that many are struggling to make ends meet.
Sonya Ruparel, Director of Programmes and Partnerships at Turn2us, said there is an endemic issue of unclaimed benefits in the UK.
“The confusing, sometimes hostile, and often stigmatising world of social security has led to millions of people not claiming their entitlements.”
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She continued: “It is so important for people to check. We urge everyone to do a benefit calculation every six months as part of a regular financial health check.”
Meanwhile, the TaxPayers’ Alliance is pushing for the Chancellor to scrap the licence fee altogether.
In its latest report, the economic pressure group said the BBC is obsolete in today’s television marketplace.
The rising popularity of ITV and Channel 5 and streaming services like Netflix are replacing the need for the BBC it said.
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