Appeal to the BBC Trust on reports about tax changes for landlords

Appeal to the BBC Trust on reports about tax changes for landlords

14:30 PM, 2nd June 2016, About 7 years ago 8

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bbc complaintsIn reply to our complaint escalation, Click Here, the BBC has sent this reply:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us and we appreciate that you felt strongly enough to write to us again. We have noted your points and are sorry to learn you were not satisfied with our earlier response.

We are sorry to tell you that we have nothing to add to our previous reply. We do not believe your complaint has raised a significant issue of general importance that might justify further investigation. We will not therefore correspond further in response to additional points, or further comments or questions, made about this issue or our responses to it.

We realise you will be disappointed to hear this but hope this explains why we are not able to take your complaint further. If you remain dissatisfied about our decision you can appeal to the BBC Trust, the body which represents licence fee payers. The Trust has asked that we should explain to complainants that the BBC’s Royal Charter draws a clear distinction between the role of the Trust – which determines the overall scope of the BBC’s services and sets its standards – and that of the BBC Executive – which runs the Corporation and decides what to broadcast and publish.

The Trust does not investigate every appeal submitted to it. It will normally hear appeals about the Executive’s decisions only if a complainant can show that they involved a potential breach of the BBC’s published standards, or that an operational decision has raised significant issues of general importance. The Trust is the final arbiter of which appeals it should consider. For the full information about the BBC Trust’s appeals procedures please visit

If you wish to submit an appeal you must write within 20 working days of receiving this reply, explaining why you wish to appeal. You can contact the BBC Trust at 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ, or by emailing Please would you include for them the relevant case reference which you may have been given.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Kind regards

BBC Complaints

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.”


They have nothing to add to their previous reply.  They have not even acknowledged the points put to them in the escalation of complaint, let alone answered them.

bbc trust

They said the next step is an appeal to the BBC Trust, which will only “hear” appeals if a complainant can show that they involved a potential breach of the BBC’s published standards.  These can be found at

The following appeal, making clear the actual breaches of the BBC’s editorial standards, has been sent to

The deadline for submitting an appeal is next Monday.  Anyone who escalated the complaint and got the same arrogant reply is very welcome to copy and send the appeal, with modifications to reflect your original complaint and escalation, including your own Case Numbers, and whether you are sending attachments.  The more appeals the better.


“Appeal re Case CAS-XXXX & CAS-XXXXletter


Dear Sir or Madam

On 1 March I complained about a piece broadcast on the BBC News channel on Sunday, 28 February, concerning the tax changes for landlords: It was shown at 07.28 and at 14.16, and presumably throughout the day.

It propagated misinformation about the tax change, was biased against BTL landlords, and promoted a commercial alternative.  There was not enough space on the complaints website so I referred to my detailed complaints that I had published at:  A copy of the detailed complaint is attached.

On 6 April I received a detailed reply.  The first and last paragraphs apologised for the delay in replying.

The four paragraphs in between were all incorrect.  I therefore escalated the complaint immediately.  There was not enough space on the complaints webpage so I summarised as follows:

The statements in the reply are not true.  The BBC has not carried a wide range of reports on the tax change.  The programme did not “fully and fairly explain” this iniquitous change in taxation.  The BBC did allow itself to be used to promote a commercial enterprise.

The reply does not answer the question in the original complaint: Why was someone with a vested interest in Property Partner selected as the only landlord to be interviewed about the tax and stamp duty changes?  This denied any committed private landlord the opportunity of exposing the multifarious flaws of section/clause 24.

The reply fails to address the first complaint: about describing the deduction of a cost, which every enterprise in the country applies under GAAP, as a “generous tax allowance”.  This is pure Treasury misinformation.

It also fails to address the third, fourth and fifth complaints: about Joe Lynam uttering anti-landlord propaganda, a complete untruth, and Treasury propaganda, respectively.

There is not enough space here for a full response, for the detail please see

A copy of the detailed escalation of complaint is attached.

I received an email reply on 6 May saying they “had nothing to add to their previous reply” and that I could appeal to the BBC Trust, which is the purpose of this email.

Overall, the Treasury will have been very pleased with your broadcast.  It completely excluded any criticism of section/clause 24 or the 3% increase in stamp duty, which was what it was supposed to be about, according to the introduction.

I note that the broadcast was made a few weeks after the government allowed the BBC to try to persuade people who are over 75 to give up their right to a free TV licence.

As can be seen from the foregoing, and from the detailed complaint and detailed escalation of it, the broadcast, and Joe Lynam’s extra piece in the video used on Property Partner’s website, breached the following of the BBC’S Editorial Values:

1.2.1 Trust

“Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.”  When I see Joe Lynam on TV now, I do not trust anything he says.

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy

“We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output.”  The broadcast was pure propaganda from the Treasury and from the anti-landlord brigade.

1.2.3 Impartiality

“Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.  We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.”   No-one criticised the levy on mortgage interest, although it is only supported by people who are economically illiterate.  Yet the Treasury were given the right to reply as if criticism had been made.

1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence

“The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity.  Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests.” It was Treasury propaganda on behalf of the Conservatives.  It also formed part of that week’s publicity campaign by Property Partner, and was used on the latter’s website to promote itself.

1.2.6 Serving the Public Interest

“We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story and well informed when explaining it.  We will ask searching questions of those who hold public office and others who are accountable, and provide a comprehensive forum for public debate.”  No-one in public office was questioned. There was no debate.

1.2.7 Fairness

“Our output will be based on fairness, openness, honesty and straight dealing.  Contributors and audiences will be treated with respect.” It was not fair, it was completely one-sided.

It was not honest to use Jaye Cook as the only landlord as he was far from representative of the people who will suffer.  He had invested £200,000 in Property Partner which is in direct competition with individual landlords for properties and tenants,

It was not honest to describe as a “generous tax break” a deduction which is made by all individuals and companies in every type of business under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

It was not straight dealing even to mention Property Partner’s non-story about what might happen if the Bank Rate went up by 2.5%, let alone feature their name in banners underneath it.

1.2.11 Accountability

“We are accountable to our audiences and will deal fairly and openly with them.  Their continuing trust in the BBC is a crucial part of our relationship with them.  We will be open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them.”  The replies I have had to date are the complete opposite of this editorial standard. The first reply was entirely wrong apart from the apologies for lateness.  The second reply did not even acknowledge the questions in my escalation, let alone answer them.  My trust in the BBC is diminished.”

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Denise G

14:48 PM, 3rd June 2016, About 7 years ago

I wish I could support this, but as I'd not seen or heard any of the programmes I didn't feel at the time I could or should register a complaint (I wish I had now as this kind of misrepresentation of the issues we face has rolled on apace after being given such a good headstart), but I would like to urge everyone who did complain and has since been treated in this shabby off-hand and arrogant manner to escalate their complaint to the Trust. I am getting so fed up with being constantly disregarded and walked over in this way by those in positions of power and authority

Mandy Thomson

14:55 PM, 3rd June 2016, About 7 years ago

The fact that they didn't properly address the complaint initially, and did not address it at all the second time, speaks volumes about the BBC - none of it good.

It's obvious that the BBC is clearly a very biased organisation with its own agenda, and isn't above promoting businesses owned by friends and associates of its staff, but this also shows it to be lazy, sloppy and inept!

As it has guaranteed funding through TV licensing which no one who wants to watch TV can opt out of, it enjoys the arrogant privilege of doing just what it wants.

Luke P

11:20 AM, 7th June 2016, About 7 years ago

Having made numerous complaints to various organisations on a raft of different issues in recent times, I have come to realise that almost all get away with not addressing the issue. Even when I have had complaints passed up to ombudsman services and won, it turns out they have no teeth to actually do anything beyond politely advising that the offending party doesn't repeat similar in future.

We are of an age where nobody is in any way shaken by authority -Local Authorities, Police, Government, utility companies, Social Services, Courts...

I have all but given up complaining now, despite my principles telling me otherwise because when I analyse those to date, the time-cost and stress outweigh what little results I have had.

It's such a sad state of affairs.

Mandy Thomson

11:30 AM, 7th June 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "07/06/2016 - 11:20":

Yep - it all comes down to who is bigger, has more resource, more power, etc - not who is right, though it would be interesting if large concerns (public and private) were to state in their terms, "You may complain if you wish, but it is unlikely we will act on it. We make no apology whatsoever for our actions". Public bodies and monopolies are the worst, as they really are answerable to no one, whereas the companies know customers will take their business elsewhere.

Luke P

11:35 AM, 7th June 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "07/06/2016 - 11:30":

I find LAs worst of all. Unlike the Police, who we all know hold a lot of power, are heavily regulated for transparency.

LAs who also have lots of power (in fact, some Police powers have in recent times been transferred to LAs) are virtually untouchable and can lie/cheat/ignore their way out of practically anything.

Something needs to change. Public bodies, particularly LAs, need keeping in check and to be truly accountable!

Mandy Thomson

11:42 AM, 7th June 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "07/06/2016 - 11:35":

Hear, hear! And yet councils are voted in by the public. Most people don't take their town hall elections as seriously as they take general elections, and yet local authorities can have even more power over people's daily lives than national government.

When I campaigned with Croydon Property Forum against Croydon Council's landlord licensing scheme, I found out just how much favour local authorities have from judges, and an ex council employee told me about all sorts of abuses of power that went on in town halls behind closed doors.

Luke P

11:55 AM, 7th June 2016, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "07/06/2016 - 11:42":

I can quite believe it!

Appalled Landlord

16:41 PM, 13th June 2016, About 7 years ago

I should get a reply by 28 July, according to the acknowledgement I have just received:

Thank you for your email to the BBC Trust of 1 June 2016, which we received on 2 June. I am sorry for the delay in confirming receipt.
We note that BBC Complaints have informed you that they are not going to respond to you further on your complaint as they do not believe that it raised a significant issue of general importance that might justify further investigation.
The BBC’s Editorial complaints procedure explains that the BBC may not investigate your complaint if it fails to raise an issue of breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines or is trivial, misconceived, hypothetical, repetitious or otherwise vexatious, or if you use gratuitously abusive or offensive language. You can find details of BBC’s Editorial complaints procedure here:
The Trust does not adjudicate on every appeal that is brought to it, and we will now review your correspondence with BBC Complaints to check that your appeal against their decision not to investigate your complaint further raises a matter of substance, in accordance with its usual complaints admissibility procedure, details of which can be found in the BBC’s Editorial complaints procedure.
The Trust’s Editorial complaints procedure explains that we will write to you with our decision on admissibility within 40 working days of the receipt of your appeal (i.e. by 28 July 2016), but we are usually able to do this sooner. We will also keep you informed if for any reason we meet with delay during this process.
If we decide that your appeal qualifies to be considered by the Trust, we will write explaining the process and setting out the timescale for taking your appeal. In considering whether or not an appeal qualifies for consideration, we may decide to take only part of the appeal, and consider only some of the issues raised.
If our conclusion is that your appeal, or any part of your appeal, does not qualify for consideration by the Trust, we will write and explain the reasons for that. If you disagree with our view then you may ask the Trust to review the decision by writing to us within 10 working days of the date on which you received our response.
If we decide your appeal qualifies for consideration, or if you challenge the decision of the Trust Unit not to proceed with some or all aspects of your appeal, the matter will be considered at the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee’s next monthly meeting. We aim to provide you with their final decision within 80 working days of our decision to accept your appeal or challenge.
Please note that if the Trust agrees with you that your complaint should be investigated further, it will ask the Executive to address your complaint again at stage 1 and provide you with a further response. If the Trust does not agree with you, its decision on this matter is final and your complaint will be closed.
Yours sincerely
Kirsty Clarke
Complaints Adviser
BBC Trust          
180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ 

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