Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

Jacob Rees-Mogg mocks Gary Lineker in Commons swipe at BBC for ‘stealing’ from pensioners

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Jacob Rees-Mogg took the BBC to task during a fiery outburst in the House of Commons. Mr Rees-Mogg was asked by a Conservative MP whether the Government would act to “put an end” to the “outrageous and shameful” BBC salaries. He responded by accusing the BBC of “stealing the Ovaltine from a pensioner’s night time drink” by charging most over-75s for the licence fee.

Tory MP Sir David Amess said: “Can we have a debate in Government time on the salaries paid to the BBC presenters.

“£1.75 million, £1.3 million, to name just two – and for what?

“And yet the BBC have the audacity to charge 75-year-olds for the licence free.

“These salaries are outrageous and shameful and it’s about time the Government put an end to it.”

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Mr Rees-Mogg joked that retired Somerset cricketer and Test Match Special contributor Vic Marks was “deserving of much more money” than Gary Lineker, who took home £1.75million in the last financial year.

He then blasted the BBC for being “unfair on pensioners” and warned that viewers were “voting with their feet” by ditching the broadcaster.

The MP told the Commons: “I do think the BBC has been unfair on pensioners in requiring them to pay the licence free.

“The hope was that they would not do this. They are basically stealing the Ovaltine from a pensioner’s night time drink by charging them for this licence fee.

“They are losing licence payers. They have lost a quarter of a million licence payers in the last year and people are voting with their feet.

“The BBC needs to pay attention to what my honourable friend is saying because when they charge the least well off in society and give money to some of the most well off there are people who would rightly question that.”

This week Gary Lineker accepted a £400,000 pay cut to sign a new five-year deal with the BBC and to remain as host of Match of the Day.

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The prominent Remainer also agreed to be more careful in his use of Twitter to push political causes.

The BBC were handed responsibility for funding the licence fee from June 2020, under a deal agreed in 2015.

The corporation announced restrictions from August 1, meaning only over-75s who receive Pension Credit are exempt from the fee.

The BBC’s annual report, released this week, showed a drop in the number of British homes paying for a television licence, even though the number of households in the UK continues to rise.

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