Last month, October 2019, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee published a report which said the Government and the BBC should agree a funding formula to restore free licences to all over 75’s who are not in receipt of Pension Credit.
The Committee was reporting on the BBC’s Annual Report and criticises the Government at the time. They believe that the BBC was ‘bounced’ into accepting funding over 75’s licence fees after 2020. BBC Director-General Tony Hall is also criticised for his handling of negotiations, particularly in failing to seek the formal agreement of the Executive Board before recommending to the BBC Trust the deal struck with the Government. As Committee Chair, Damian Collins MP comments, ‘This is an invidious position for the BBC to put itself in. It agreed to fund a pensioner benefit that it couldn’t afford and as a result, false reassurances were given to the over 75s that their free licence fees would be maintained. The BBC and the Government must reach an agreement to allow the funding of free licence fees for the over 75s to continue after 2020’.
The full report on the BBC’s Annual Report can be found @ https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/2432/243202.htm