BBC to scrap free TV licences for over 75s unless they receive pension credit

The BBC has announced it will scrap free TV licences for over 75s unless they receive pension credit.

A message from the BBC Chairman and Director General sent to BBC email subscribers and published on the BBC website said 'we have had to make a really important and difficult decision.'

The main part of the statement reads;

"We didn’t want simply to abolish free licences for all older pensioners. We didn’t think that would be fair on those who would find it hardest to pay. Nor did we think it right to continue with a scheme that mirrored the Government’s, given the severe impact that would have on BBC services that are valued by everyone - old and young. We have therefore decided to introduce a new scheme. It is one that we believe represents the fairest possible outcome. 

From June 2020, anyone aged 75 or over who receives Pension Credit will also be entitled to a free TV licence funded by the BBC. This will help the poorest pensioners who will continue to enjoy a free TV licence. It’s important to stress that it is not the BBC who will make any judgements about poverty – that measure is set and controlled by Government. As well as being fairest for the poorest pensioners, this scheme is also the fairest for all licence fee payers as it means everyone will continue to receive the best programmes and services that the BBC can provide. 

This new scheme will cost the BBC around £250 million a year. This will mean we have to continue to find significant savings, but we are confident that we will be able to protect the funding for services the public tell us that they enjoy. "

The announcement comes following consultation between November 2018 and February 2019. The current government funded scheme to provide free TV licences for over 75s is set to end in 2020.

More information about the decision can be found on the BBC website.

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