The Government have shown a complete lack of control and leadership following the Bilsdale transmitter fire. Instead, as they did with free TV licences for over 75’s, they have passed the buck to the BBC.

In a recent parliamentary question, I received the brush off when seeking refunds for all those affected by the Bilsdale transmitter fire.

Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward proposals to part-refund television licenses for people affected by the Bilsdale transmitter fire.

John Whittingdale Minister of State

Under the Communications Act 2003, the BBC are entitled to make refunds for the TV licence fee in such circumstances as they may determine.

Following the Bilsdale mast fire, the BBC has announced that affected households which have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and are also unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer, and satellite and cable platforms, will be able to claim a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence, depending on their TV Licensing payment plan. The BBC will make information available on these arrangements from 10 September on the TV Licensing website:

People would expect the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport to be responsible for the national infrastructure of telecommunication signals. However, the constant abdication of responsibility and a lack of leadership calls into question the purpose of the department.

The Government should seek to extend the TV licence for all those affected until such time the signal is restored and the Bilsdale transmitter is repaired or replaced. The weak and bland lack of leadership at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport shows complete contempt for the public.

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