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

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons) 12:33 pm, 21st July 2020

The Government have been completely disingenuous about this issue all along. Let us be honest: the BBC was given no choice but to take on responsibility for TV licences. My hon. Friend Christian Matheson is absolutely right: the Government should not be outsourcing their welfare policy or, indeed, their manifesto promises to the BBC. Funding for the BBC’s UK public services is now around 24% less in real terms than if the cost of the licence fee had risen with inflation from 2010, and the BBC is facing £800 million of cuts. Given all that, does the Minister seriously expect that the BBC would be able to keep funding free TV licences for all over-75s? Can he tell us that with a straight face?