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

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 12:33 pm, 21st July 2020

Tory Ministers’ feigned shock at BBC job cuts and at old people being pursued for TV licence payments is nothing but humbug. Everyone knew that this would be the result of the last charter deal, cooked up by the Government and BBC director-general Tony Hall. The Government demanded that free TV licences for the over-75s—which should be a social provision—be funded by the BBC, and the BBC was unwise enough to knuckle under and accept. The BBC could not afford it, and I warned at the time that it would lead to swingeing BBC job losses and pensioners being pursued through the courts for licence payments—a double whammy of cruelty, especially during covid. Lord Hall is off to another lavishly paid job, but pensioners across the country will have to find the cash to pay for licences they cannot afford, while hundreds of staff at the BBC now face redundancy as a direct result of this dreadful Tory deal. The Government need to take back control of pensioner licence provision. Will they do so?