BBC to consider scrapping free TV licenses for older people

In June 2020, the BBC may revoke free TV licenses for older people.

Currently, those aged over 75 receive free TV license under a government funded scheme, regardless of income, occupation or welfare entitlements. The cost of this scheme is estimated to be around £745 million per year, with the cost of a full colour TV license standing at £150.50 per household per year.

This funding, currently provided by the government, is due to come to an end in June 2020, which brings along with it the possibility of an end to free TV licenses for older people.

The BBC has launched a consultation to gather views from everyone – individuals and organisations – about what it should do when this funding comes to an end.

The organisation has also outlined several options which they could implement when the funding ends:  

1.  It could introduce a TV license fee for older people but at a reduced rate, meaning older people would still have to pay, though not as much as younger groups.

2.  It could raise the threshold for free TV licenses from 75 to 80, meaning that as of June 2020, only households with someone who is aged 80 or over will receive a free TV license. Everyone else would have to pay.

3.  It could means test the concession for older people, providing free licenses to those who are in greater financial need – such as those in receipt of pension credit.

The consultation closes on 12 February 2019, which means that if you would like to respond, you must fill in the form linked to here on the BBC website by the 12 February. Age Sector Platform would encourage you to do this, as the more unified the responses to the consultation opposing the introduction of fees, the better. More voices will have more impact.

Age Sector Platform will be responding to this consultation as an organisation and will express that it is firmly opposed to the introduction of any fees for older people to receive the TV license, as well as any rise in the age entitlement threshold (75).

Age Sector Platform represents a strong, unified voice for older people and recognises that the introduction of a TV license fee would be an unfair financial burden for older people, many of whom consider the television to be an important source of information, entertainment and companionship.