VULNERABLE elderly residents at a Worcester care home have been left “too frightened” to put their TVs on after being caught in the crossfire of a TV Licencing dispute.

Residents at Himbleton House, St John’s have received several “threatening” letters demanding payment after a standoff between Platform Housing Group and the government regulators which has been rumbling on since August.

Some occupants of the 43-flat sheltered complex have even opted to pay the £35 fees themselves, despite the fact it should be covered by their rent.

The relative of one elderly resident, who wished not to be identified, said tenants can’t even watch TV in the communal lounge as they fear it is illegal, meaning many are being left ‘lonely and isolated’.  

She said: “I have a relative with complex needs who is enduring living in this 'home'.

“This situation is causing great distress to all, most are too frightened to put their television on which is making them feel more vulnerable due to extreme isolation and increased loneliness. Even watching TV in the communal lounge is illegal. 

“The residents have just been trapped in the middle of an argument. 

“TV Licencing are demanding payment,  Platform say it has been paid but this cannot be confirmed, and meanwhile, the residents continue to worry and suffer financial and emotional abuse.

“Some residents are so stressed they have opted to pay individually,  incurring a cost of £35 monthly or £41 quarterly. Even my maths can work out that cannot be correct.

“I find it shocking that vulnerable and elderly adults are treated in this way, with no voice, support or dignity.”

Platform Housing says it has paid the fees, but changes to the way in which TV Licensing processes payments have caused the delays.

Hayley Murphy, Retirement Living Operations Manager at Platform Housing Group, said: "We are aware that a small minority of our residents are being contacted by TV Licencing with regards to the scheme not having a concessionary TV licence in place. 

“We understand this is frustrating and have written to those affected to address this.  TV Licencing has changed the way it processes payments and has introduced a third party to do this. 

“We have sent all the payments but have been informed they can't be processed.  We are doing all we can to establish the reason and resolve the situation and are in regular contact with those affected regarding this."