Up to 3.7 million over-75s to pay licence fee

 

UP to 3.7 million pensioners who previously received a free TV licence will now have to pay for it.

The BBC will scrap blanket free licences for over-75s, but households with one person who receives Pension Credit will still be eligible.

The BBC said “fairness” was at the heart of the ruling, which comes into force in June 2020.

It follows a consultation with 190,000 people, of which 52% were in favour of reforming or abolishing free licences.

According to the BBC, around 900,000 households are claiming Pension Credit, which is is a non-taxable weekly top up for pensioners based on a person’s income.

The number of households which could be eligible to apply for Pension Credit could number 1.5 million by 2020.

The BBC Board said it was the “fairest option to help the poorest pensioners”.

BBC chairman David Clementi said it had been a “very difficult decision”.
“We think it’s fair to those over 75 but also to all our audiences for whom there was no appetite for the level of cuts that would have been necessary if the concession had been extended,” he added.

“There are people for whom this will be unwelcome news, who have not paid until now but will do so.
“We know we have a loyal audience over the age of 75 and we think many of them will understand the difficult position we are in.”

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6 Responses to "Up to 3.7 million over-75s to pay licence fee"

  1. MickyB77   June 11, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Difficult position ?
    More difficult than our pensioners were in during W W 2.
    The BBC has reneged on the original deal that they signed up to !
    Another vote is needed by people over 65, then see what your
    percentages show.
    Not fit for purpose, and, it seems that most of the screen time is taken up
    by repeat programmes.

  2. kthe5   June 11, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Mickey
    It’s not the BBC that has renaged on the deal. If anything it was the 2015 Conservative government by the then chancellor George Osborne.
    The policy of free TV licences for the over-75s was introduced in 1999 by the then Labour chancellor, Gordon Brown, with the cost met by the government, which paid the BBC to provide the service.
    However, in 2015 the Conservative government, decided the subsidy would be phased out by 2020, with the BEEB having to decide what to do about the benefit. Meaning any unpopular decisions on charging over-75s had to be made by the BBC rather than ministers.

    “Another vote is needed by people over 65, then see what your percentages show.”
    Micky, 52% were in favour of reforming or abolishing free licences. Your comment is disrespecting the will of the people! The people have spoken! Reform means Reform!

  3. jhumphreys84   June 12, 2019 at 9:37 am

    This is a really tough argument. Firstly though, there are some pensioners who simply do not need to be given free bus passes and TV licences as with some private pensions they do earn better than some of the lowest paid in society. So for me, i personally do favour that the free TV licence for free is scrapped. It is good that it’s being protected for those who are vulnerable though, as for some it would simply not be affordable. But those who this will hit most are those in the middle. So while i agree with the action, i do think it has gone slightly too far. Again, i think a more means tested approach to this would be fair, rather than having a harsh cut off so that those who can afford it, rightly pay for it and those who can’t are supported.

  4. MickyB77   June 12, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Katy.
    Don’t keep down loading pages of non-sense.
    This was a tongue in cheek swipe at all the know-alls who like to jump in with both feet. Have you any sense of humour ?
    When the licence fees were re-regulated, the Beeb was allowed an annual increase, to fund the freebies.
    190.000 people were polled in this project, by the way, and also, they assured
    Cameron that they would continue the subsidy, in principal. Do the arithmetic then, 3.5 million x £159. the Beeb have said the cost to them would be ?

  5. kthe5   June 12, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Mickey
    “Don’t keep down loading pages of non-sense.”
    I’ll keep correcting assumptions and innaccuracies as long as I can be bothered.
    “Have you any sense of humour ?”
    Of course. I like the “only making a joke” deflection & justification for not checking your facts before posting. Laughing like a drain. Having re-read your post above the only thing I see is a mild Auntie Beeb bash, which is of course, what the Conservatives back in 2015 intended. No Milligan-ish humour there.
    “When the licence fees were re-regulated”
    I’m not sure what you mean by that. Maybe it’s too pythonesque. Or maybe you mean that the BBC took over the administration of television licensing in 1991.
    “the Beeb was allowed an annual increase, to fund the freebies.”
    I think you mean the BBC was allowed to increase the licence fee and make it obligatory to have a TV licence to use iPlayer. It wasn’t “re-regulated”, whatever that means.
    “and also, they assured Cameron that they would continue the subsidy, in principal.”
    Until 2020. Which is exactly what has happened.
    “Do the arithmetic then”
    I don’t need to, the BEEB has kindly done it for me:from a beeb news article:
    The new scheme will cost the BBC around £250m a year by 2021/22, depending on the take-up
    If the BBC continued to provide free TV licences to all over-75s, it would cost around £500m extra, the corporation said.

    Maintaining free TV licences for those pensioners was part of the Conservative Party manifesto at the 2017 general election.
    Labour deputy leader Tom Watson told the House of Commons that voters who read the manifesto pledge “have been betrayed and it’s shameful”.

    £250m a year is the equivalent of:
    5 Chris Grayling Ferry Contracts (With Ferries)
    18 Chris Grayling Ferry Contracts (With out Ferries)
    7.6 Chris Grayling Ferry Contracts (settlement with Eurostar)

    jhumphreys – I agree that some pensioners are much better off now than they used to be in past, and have no need of subsidies such as this. It will still be free for those claiming pension credit. Unfortunately there are many who are entitled to pension credit but don’t claim it, and maybe paying for the licence fee when they don’t need to. Hopefully news and publicity such as this will correct this.

  6. MickyB77   June 13, 2019 at 5:10 am

    If you wish to correct, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.

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