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

I can say to the hon. Gentleman that the BBC asked for a number of concessions—the unfreezing of the licence fee, to which he referred, the closing of the iPlayer loophole and other saving reductions —that resulted in its income increasing. The cost of giving free TV licences to those aged over 75, which was introduced only in 2008, was rising inexorably and would soon be approaching £1 billion. I have to ask all Opposition Members whether, if they believe that the free TV licences should continue, they are committing that a future Labour Government, or even a future Liberal Democrat Government, might one day pay to restore them, at a cost, by then, of well over £1 billion.