Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil has lodged a motion with the Scottish Parliament expressing his concerns at the BBC’s new system of payments for the license fee, specifically, their decision to remove people’s ability to pay for it through TV licensing savings stamps at the Post Office.
Mr Neil is not only concerned at the inconvenience this move will cause to those used to paying for their television license in this manner, but also at the threat to many local post offices this move creates by reducing the amount of business transacted at these sites.
The BBC has decided that from 31st July no one will be able to purchase the TV licensing savings stamps from the Post Office, but instead has switched to working with PayPoint plc to provide alternative services. Mr Neil would prefer that they retain the savings stamps scheme with the Post Office in tandem with these new services.
Mr Neil said:
“The moves from the BBC to do away with the TV licensing savings stamps scheme is a huge blow for people who have used this scheme for many years, as well as for the Post Office, as many local post offices rely on such business. This may well threaten the survival of many offices when allied to some of the recent changes that have been made to services available at them.”
“I hope the BBC rethinks this scheme. I have no problem with them devising new ways for people to pay for their license, and as such I welcome their new set up with PayPoint. However, why not continue to work with the Post Office at the same time? Surely this makes sense as it increases people’s choices about how they pay for their license and helps ensure the Post Office has a future.”
The Text of Mr Neil’s motion is as follows:
S2M-4504 Alex Neil (Central Scotland) (SNP): TV Licensing Savings Stamps— That the Parliament notes that individuals will no longer be able to purchase TV Licensing savings stamps from the Post Office after 31 July 2006; regrets this move which, when added to the increase in cost of the licence, will hit hard those who have been used to paying for their TV licences in this manner, and calls on the BBC to rethink its decision to remove this service and to retain it to operate in tandem with its new services offered by PayPoint plc to allow those who would prefer to continue using the savings stamps at their local post office to do so.