Today is the day when the British population allows itself to be harangued by televisual "personalities" into handing money over to "good causes", although the exact nature of all the causes being supported is not shown (unlike every charitable fund-raising I have been involved with). There is nothing wrong with "good causes", but it is the bleating by the overly-paid to bully the less well off that really grates. Only a few weeks after we learn that just one of the pundits on Match of the Day is paid £40,000 a week to say "The Bolton back four were all over the place for that goal, Gary" - £1.6 million a year, a reasonable Premiership footballers salary, without the running about or risk of injury, perhaps the BBC should be looking at docking some of their wages instead of blagging money from the rest of the population.
But in case I am thought of as being mean minded, here is a way that the BBC can donate several million without losing a single penny to which it is entitled. As you are aware dear reader, the Government in its generosity with your money decided many years ago that it would pay for a TV licence for every household containing a pensioner aged 75 or over. As far as I am aware the licence is not compulsory and the households have to apply for the licence but the take up is quite significant and results in income to the BBC of £550 million a year paid for out of your taxes.
I have no problem with that, mostly because the free TV license was given to cover up a lousy pension increase many years ago. Besides it gives 74 year olds something to look forward to, but it does lead to an unjust enrichment of the BBC.
How is that? Well the simple fact is that if you die midway through the period of your TV license, your executor can write to TV licensing for a refund. Refunds are available for complete unused quarters that remain on a TV Licence at the point it was no longer needed. Only the executor of the deceased licence holder's estate can apply for a refund in these circumstances.
Now the elderly can be differentiated from the rest of the population in many respects, but chiefly in that they have a much shorter life expectancy. A 75 year old typically has a life expectancy of around 10 more years while a 90 year old has a life expectancy of 3 years. Put another way,in very round numbers, a 75 year old has something of the order of a 10% probability of dying in the next year while a 90 year old has a 25% probability.
Using a back of the envelope calculation, it would appear that something around 8% of the £550 million represents the cost to the government of broadcasting to the dead, and that money is trapped at the BBC. The government (not the deceased) paid the money, so the executor can't reclaim it for the estate, and the government can't reclaim the money because it is not the executor of the estate of the deceased. The net result is that the BBC and its overpaid onscreen personalities are overpaid to the tune of nearly £50 million.
Hand that over to charity Pudsey and I might pay attention to your unedifying appeal.