The NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt has written to the new Chairman of the Board of the BBC and a right of reply letter to the editor of the Daily Mail.
The letter to Mr Sharp - Chairman of the Board of the BBC.
Dear Mr. Sharp,
First of all, congratulations on your appointment as Chairman of the Board of the BBC.
Secondly, we would like to say thank you for your initial statement regarding the use of a subscription system. This would exclude so many older people and others of all age groups who are not digitally connected. Also, thank you for the introduction of educational programmes to serve those young people without access to technology during lockdown. Grandparents have been worried for their grandchildren not able to attend school in the normal way.
As you will be aware, the older generation are the largest audience the BBC has and we are still campaigning for the government to take back responsibility for the full funding of the free TV licence for over 75s. We strongly believe that it is the government who are responsible for funding social welfare not your broadcasting corporation. We hope you agree and that there is a force for change in your forthcoming negotiations.
The National Pensioners Convention’s main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement for today and the future. We have around 1.5 million members in 1,000 groups across the UK and campaign on many issues affecting older people.
It is quite clear that the BBC needs to change to be fit for purpose for the future, and one of our policies is to campaign for a state funded, independent media that serves the people honestly and without bias; that challenges fake news and promotes a schedule of programmes that are as diverse as the audience of viewers. Sadly, your predecessor had a very lax view of bias and we are hoping that there will be a more robust attitude towards changing the emphasis in favour of public information being open and transparent.
During the pandemic the BBC has been a fantastic source of information for those without technology. Local radio stations supported our call to be the hub of information and sign-posting for those who cannot shop on line or access other day to day essentials, or were in need of support and help. The government must recognise the role the whole of the BBC has played and understand that without it, a lot of citizens (particularly the older generation) would not have known or understood what was required of the