Following a public consultation, the BBC has announced that only over 75’s who receive Pension Credit will receive a free TV licence. From June 2020 around 3 million households will have to pay £154.50 for their annual TV licence. However, there are estimates that about 1.7 million households entitled to Pension Credit do not claim and having to pay for their TV licence may well make poorer pensioners worse off. It may even mean that some of the elderly will face criminal prosecution.
This new provision of free TV licences will cost approximately £250,000 million; much less than the projected cost of £745 million. A statement from the Director General, Tony Hall stated that ‘I believe we have reached the fairest judgment after weighing up all the different arguments. It would not be right simply to abolish all free licences. Equally it would not be right to maintain it in perpetuity given the very profound impact that would have on many BBC services.’
The BBC has been forced to make this decision because the Government decided to stop funding the provision and as part of the last TV licence fee renewal and subsequent Royal Charter, shifted the responsibility for the level of any further concessions to the BBC.