TV Licences for over-75S

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:32 pm on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of Patricia Gibson Patricia Gibson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Consumer Affairs) 2:32 pm, 8th May 2019

I absolutely agree. The Government have picked a fight with over-75s for no particular reason, and for no particular benefit that I can see. But not taking responsibility for this matter simply will not wash.

I ask the Minister, since when has the BBC become an offshoot of the Department for Work and Pensions? The BBC is a broadcaster. It should not, and must not, be charged with deciding how much support our pensioners should receive from wider society. The UK Government have undoubtedly abrogated their responsibility for TV licences, and have left the BBC to decide whether it will impose this charge on the over-75s. The BBC will have £745 million less to spend annually on programmes—the combined budget of BBC 2, BBC 4 and BBC Radio 3 —if it continues with the free TV licences. Options being considered range across the BBC taking on the funding, seeking partial payment or removing the concession entirely, putting it in an impossible position.