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BBC — [Phil Wilson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:36 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Conservative, Bexhill and Battle 5:36 pm, 15th July 2019

I certainly do not know something that the hon. Lady does not know.

We made a manifesto commitment that now puts us in a difficult position, if the BBC is going to take away the licence fee for those outside the means test from 2020 to 2022. It leads to an argument for the Government Benches that the Government would need to carry on funding it, at least for that two-year period.

I take issue with the petitions—like my right hon. Friend Mr Vaizey, I will now lose part of the room, or perhaps all of it. Although I understand the cost implication for those who cannot afford the licence fee—I absolutely recognise that pension credit is at its lowest level and that those just outside the pension credit boundary will struggle to meet this cost—I have a fundamental problem, which I am surprised that Opposition Members do not share. If a multi-millionaire happens to be over the age of 75, they receive a free universal benefit that is effectively being subsidised by someone in their early 20s who is renting and cannot afford to buy a property of their own.

I believe that there is a cost to everything and there are choices. The Government spend £800 billion each year on our public services. If we are spending money on people who can afford to pay, ultimately that means either that somebody else has got to pay for it or that somebody else will not receive the same benefit.