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BBC presenter Ben Fogle has announced plans to donate an entire series pay to help over-75s pay their TV licence, following the announcement millions of pensioners are to be stripped of the concession.
The former Countryfile star took to social media to label the BBC ‘one of the greatest institutions in the world’ who has had its hand ‘forced’ by the government.
Fogle said: “I LOVE the BBC. I think it is one of the greatest institutions in the world. It is the envy of most nations, it makes amazing content and I’d argue it is still value for money. I also owe my whole career to the BBC.
“They gave me my first break and they (you) employed me for many years but I am disappointed in the recent announcement on the abolition of free licences to the over 75s. I don’t entirely blame the BBC. I think the government forced their hand. I have decided to donate my entire salary for this years BBC Animal Park to subsidise licences for those over 75 who have no way of paying for a licence.”
The 45-year-old went on to talk about how much his grandparents relied on the BBC in their later years, and how his mother, the actress Julia Foster, continues to work on BBC projects.
He said: “My late grandparents, Jean and Dick LOVED the BBC. They would have been lost without it in their twilight years. My mother has made many great BBC dramas over the years and is soon to appear in the new Dr Who (spoiler alert).”
He went on to urge the powers that be to ‘not penalise those who most value the great BBC’, saying: “This is not virtue signalling (although I do think it’s time to rethink the licence) but we owe it to those over 75 who have served their country in the armed forces, the NHS, the fire service etc. Let’s not penalise those who most value the great BBC.
“I think society is in danger of losing its moral compass. This is the least I can do for those over 75, an often neglected sector of society. Wouldn’t it be nice if we started respecting, loving and thanking our elderly population.”
The decision to scrap the concession has caused some outrage, with Pier Morgan billing the move ‘disgusting’.