BBC

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:33 pm on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State 12:33 pm, 21st July 2020

The decisions taken at the time of the licence fee settlement in 2015 were the result of lengthy negotiations with the BBC, in which it received a number of concessions that it strongly asked for. In return for those, it agreed that it would take on responsibility for the maintenance of the over-75s free TV licence concession. It was up to the BBC how it decided to take that forward. A number of options were suggested and consulted on by the BBC. The Government were disappointed, as I say, that it decided to remove the concession completely. There were a number of other ways it could have addressed it that would have saved the BBC money but would have at least maintained some help for those aged over 75. But, as I said, that was a matter for the BBC. Obviously, we will continue to discuss it with the BBC. In particular, we will be having discussions over the next licence fee settlement in 2022. We will ensure that there is an opportunity for Ofcom, and others, to have an input into that, but that is still some way off. In the meantime, as somebody who was responsible for those negotiations, I believed the licence fee settlement was a good outcome. The BBC made public the fact that it thought it was a good outcome, too.