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

First, there were a number of options available to the BBC for how to reduce the costs of the over-75s exemption. The BBC chose to abolish it in its entirety, but there were options, including providing it at a later age, reducing it to a proportion of the licence fee or restricting it to households that only contained over-75-year-olds. It has always seemed to me extraordinary that a banker at Goldman Sachs who happens to have his grandmother living in his home can claim a free TV licence. There were a number of options, and I personally regret that the BBC chose to go ahead with the total abolition. The hon. Gentleman talked about hard-up pensioners. Pensioners on low incomes will continue to receive a free TV licence if they are in receipt of pension credit, so those who are most likely to be unable to afford it will not be required to pay.