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I would rather go to prison

PLUCKY pensioner Kevan Harris has pledged he would "rather go to prison" than pay the full cost for his TV licence fee.

PLUCKY pensioner Kevan Harris has pledged he would "rather go to prison" than pay the full cost for his TV licence fee.

Kevan, aged 67, lives in a sheltered accommodation scheme in Dorsington Road, Acocks Green, in which half of the elderly residents are entitled to pay the £7.50 concession rate and half are not.

The retired serviceman first brought his plight to the attention of the Solihull News in July, but is still embroiled in an on-going battle with the Bristol-based TV License Board.

He said: "I had sent a cheque for £8 when my licence expired at beginning of September and stated I was not going to pay the full amount, but they have returned my cheque."

To receive a concession, applicants must be over 60 and for those living in sheltered housing or care homes where the TV is not communal there must be a full time warden.

Although Kevan believes his side of the road matches the criteria, a discrepancy over the wardens' working hours led to his application being refused.

And now, a stalemate between Birmingham Council, who run the Dorsington Road scheme and the TV license board, has left Kevan and a handful of other residents facing the full amount of £139.50.

"I am not going to lie down and I'm prepared to go to court over this. I'd rather go to prison then pay the full amount, at least I'd be treated better in there," he said.

Kevan and his neighbours contacted Solihull's Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt who described the situation as "petty bureaucracy gone mad."

Speaking to Solihull News this week she said: "It's completely bizarre to me. In the spirit of the ruling they should be entitled to the concession-ary rate and all the residents that should be entitled to this scheme are missing out. The properties are separated by a piece of road but should still be treated as one."

Mrs Burt plans to liaise with the TV licensing board and Birmingham council and in the hope of reaching a reasonable agreement.

A spokesperson for TV Licensing said: "The position for the residents of 82 to 136 Dorsington Road, remains unchanged in that this accommodation does not qualify for the concession."

Birmingham City council said that the situation had not changed since they last appealed to the licensing board and they had no further plans to appeal.

 

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