FAIREST OPTION FOR POOREST PENSIONERS

TV Licences: Up to 3.7 million over-75s to pay licence fee

By Lizzie Healey

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 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”.

David Clementi on the BBC’s decision to scrap blanket free licences for over 75s.

“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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