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Television: Licensing

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 1st August 2019.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of free television licences issued to residents in (a) the Norwich City Council area (b) Norwich South constituency and (c) Norwich North constituency in each of the last three years; and what the total annual value was of those licences.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

The government and the BBC agreed at the time that this was a fair deal for the BBC. The BBC benefited as the government closed the iPlayer loophole and committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. And to help with financial planning, the government agreed to provide phased transitional funding over 2 years to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

On 10 June 2019, the BBC announced that the current scheme will end. From 1 June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit.

The table below provides estimates of the costs and caseloads for 2015/16 through to 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 years and over in the geographical areas requested. Expenditure in nominal prices. The figures for 2018/19 will be available in September.

Caseload (thousands)




(a) the Norwich City Council (Norwich local authority area)




(b) Norwich South constituency




(c) Norwich North constituency




Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)




(a) the Norwich City Council (Norwich local authority area)




(b) Norwich South constituency




(c) Norwich North constituency




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