Up to 3.7 million pensioners who formerly received free TV licences could now be forced to pay the full price as the BBC has announced it is scrapping plans that provide over 75’s with a free tv licence.
The BBC announced that under the new rules only low-income households where one person receives the pension credit benefit will still be eligible for a free licence however others will be forced to face the brunt of the full cost of the licence.
In 2015 the British government decided the BBC would take over the cost of providing free licence fees for over-75s by 2020 as part of a fee settlement however the scheme would have caused the BBC £745 million, a whole fish of the BBC’s budget by 2021/22.
According to the BBC, the new scheme will cost the BBC around 250 million by 2021/22 depending on the intake.
The BBC claimed that giving away free TV licences would cripple the broadcaster and bring about ‘unprecedented closures’.
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 said “fairness” was at the forefront of the ruling, which comes into force in June 2020.
The decision follows a consultation with 190,000 people, of whom 52% apparently were in favour of reforming or abolishing free licences.
The BBC Board said it was the “fairest option to help the poorest pensioners”.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said it had been a “very difficult decision”.
He continued “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,
“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.”
The full cost of the licence fee is currently £154.50 for colour and £52 for a black and white TV Licence however in some cases you may be entitled to adjust licence fee.
The move sparked outrage by some on social media with many mentioning the fact that some people aged 75+ will, in fact, be forced to pay for the licence fee if they already have a television capable of broadcasting live through most major networks, you are also expected to hold a TV licence should you use the BBC’s advert-free iPlayer catch-up service.
EDIT: What a sham by this Tory government!
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