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Results 141–160 of 5133 for speaker:Jeremy Wright

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: My hon. Friend makes an interesting suggestion. He will know that one of the options that the BBC considered and consulted on was raising the threshold from 75 to 80. I appreciate that he is suggesting a rather more subtle variant of that. I want to continue the conversation with the BBC about what else it might be able to do, but I recognise that this specific decision is the BBC’s to make...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: Well, I do not know whether that is a way to deal with the whole issue, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, but he is right to point out that since the licence fee settlement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has announced direct funding, in fact, of £255 million over three years to support language services for the World Service. He is right to point out that other streams of income are...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I shall certainly continue to engage with the BBC and to continue to ask it to live within its means and provide the services that my hon. Friend and I both want to see it provide to a very high standard. As he will recognise, this decision is one that we have already transferred to the BBC. It is the BBC’s decision to make, but I do not believe that this is the end of the conversation...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I am very happy to make it clear that the Scottish National party voted against these changes, as did the Labour party, as I said. The hon. Gentleman will recognise, inconvenient though this sometimes is, that decisions in our democracy are made by majority, and that is the same in this House.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: As I have made clear, this decision is not for the Government to make any longer; it is for the BBC. We made clear our expectations before the decision was taken; I have made my views to the BBC clear since the decision was made; and I shall continue to make arguments to the BBC about what more can be done.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: No, of course not. More to the point, if the hon. Lady is concerned about loneliness—I accept in good faith that she is—I hope she recognises that the Government have taken material action on loneliness more than any Government before. We take these matters so seriously that, as I have said before, we are prepared to put our money where our mouth is on loneliness—and we have done so.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: As my hon. Friend knows, the question of replacing the licence fee with a subscription model or any other model was considered relatively recently and the licence fee model was considered still to be the best one to pursue. I do not believe this is the right time to review that question.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I am afraid the hon. Lady is wrong. It is the BBC’s responsibility to decide what to do about the licence fee concession; it says so in the Digital Economy Act 2017. As it happens, this is the sequence of events: the Digital Economy Act passed and received Royal Assent before the 2017 general election. She is simply wrong to say that it is the Government’s responsibility. It is not; it...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: My hon. Friend makes a good point about communication. It is important that the BBC does it utmost to ensure that such changes are communicated in a responsible, accurate and helpful way so that those who are still entitled to help can receive it.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: The right hon. Gentleman knows that the process is in statute. If the Government were to seek to pursue a different course, we would have to bring further primary legislation before the House. I do not believe that is necessary. What is necessary is for the BBC to sit down with us, as I am sure it will, and talk about what more it can do beyond the decision it announced this week to assist...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: My hon. Friend makes a fair point, but it is important that the BBC does everything it can—we will assist it in the process—to ensure that the scenario he outlines does not happen. Actually, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green) mentioned, there is an opportunity to do something about the ongoing problem of underclaiming of pension credit by those entitled to it....

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: As I have said, the Government’s view as to what we expected of the BBC was clear. It was expressed clearly a number of times, including by me and indeed by the Prime Minister. However, the statutory fact of the matter is that this is a decision for the BBC to take. We made our view very clear, and other hon. Members made their views clear too, but it remains the BBC’s decision to take. I...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I do not know what caused the change of view. There has been a gradual process—a transition—during which public subsidy has diminished and the BBC’s responsibility for covering the cost has increased, so this is not an immediate, overnight change. The BBC has covered such costs in larger and larger amounts for two years. It is up to the BBC to determine what more it feels it can do to...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: Yes, and I hope that as a result of this debate about the licence fee concession many people who are entitled to pension credit but are not claiming it may have their attention drawn to that fact, recognise that they can claim, and do so. We, with the BBC, will certainly give thought to the hon. Gentleman’s suggestion about how that can be best communicated.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I share my hon. Friend’s disappointment, for the reasons that she has given, and the answer to her second question is yes.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I was not present at those discussions, but it is very clear, is it not, that if someone wants to know roughly how much the financial obligation they are taking on will be, there are ways in which to establish that. One would assume that the BBC carried out exactly that exercise, and therefore knew what it was taking on when it made the agreement; hence the disappointment that I have...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: My hon. Friend has heard me say that I think one of the things that the BBC must always have an eye on is the need to control salary levels, which, as he says, the people who are licence fee payers expect to be within sensible bounds. I know he will recognise that one of the reasons we know these things is the transparency that the Government have brought about, and that is a good thing, but...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: I think that the hon. Gentleman has slightly overstated his case, but if he is concerned about the value of promises, let me say to him that I am still waiting to hear from any Labour Member how exactly Labour intends to fund the promise that it appears to be making to put matters back to the way they were. If they believe that promises are important, they ought to be able to explain how...

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: Yes. As I have said, I will continue to have those conversations. As my hon. Friend will recognise, there were other ways in which the BBC could have approached this issue—even if it took the view that the full concession should not be maintained—and it consulted on some of them. We will, of course, discuss these matters further with the BBC.

Free TV Licences: over-75S (11 Jun 2019)

Jeremy Wright: As I said earlier, it is important to be accurate about what may or may not happen. The scenario that the hon. Lady has set out is not one that any of us wants to unfold, and one of the conversations that must now take place with the BBC is about ensuring that we do everything possible to avoid it.


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