UK

BBC fury as new boss appointed on six-figure salary on day free over-75s TV licence axed

The BBC will now means-test the entitlement, having previously delayed its introduction because of the pandemic. Over-75s must receive pension credit to receive the free TV licence, which costs £157.50.

Meanwhile, Steve Carson was named the new director of BBC Scotland on Wednesday which Express.co.uk understands is a six-figure salary position.

He will replace Donalda MacKinnon, who will step down later this year after four years in the role.

Ms MacKinnon is currently paid up to £180,000 in remuneration, according to BBC accounts.

Mr Carson will lead 1,100 staff across 13 centres, producing English and Gaelic content for TV, radio and digital platforms.

Mr Carson said of his appointment: “I’ve got a very hard act to follow in Donalda MacKinnon, an inspirational creative leader who has overseen a significant investment for Scotland including a new channel, the establishment of an advanced technology hub and an enhanced newsroom at a time of budget challenges for the BBC.”

But Jeremy Hutton, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told Express.co.uk: “This appointment leaves TV licence payers with little doubt about what the over-75s expansion is paying for.

“Year after year Auntie confounds British taxpayers with reports of sky-high salaries often well in excess of what the Prime Minister earns. 2020 is clearly no exception.

“Instead of taxing ever more people, the BBC should move on from the outdated licence fee model and embrace a more modern, and fair, alternative.”

READ MORE: TV licence fee changes: Why do you need a TV licence?

The BBC agreed to take on responsibility for funding the scheme as part of the charter agreement hammered out with the Government in 2015.

But it has said it cannot afford to continue the universal entitlement, which would hit “programmes and services”.

TV Licensing will write to all over-75 licence holders from August, outlining what action to take.

A BBC spokeswoman said in response: “It was the Government that ended funding for over-75s TV licences” and that the “BBC has made the fairest decision possible to support the poorest, oldest pensioners”.

 

She added: “Critically, it isn’t the BBC making judgments about poverty – the Government sets and controls pension credit.

“The decision to start the new scheme in August has not been easy but delaying the introduction has cost the BBC over £70 million and we cannot afford to delay any further.”

The corporation warned that the Government scheme would have cost £745million a year and would have forced the closures of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations.

When asked about Mr Carson’s appointment, the spokeswoman said: “This is not a new role.

“Steve Carson is replacing the current Director of BBC Scotland who is retiring at the end of the year, so there is no additional cost to the organisation with this appointment.”



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