Television: Licensing

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of providing free television licences to people over the age of 75 for qualifying residents in (a) Wallasey constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) the North West in 2018-19.

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.

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 cost to the public purse for providing free TV licences to those aged over 75 in the North West region in 2018/19 is estimated as £52m. Unlike in previous years, in 2018/19 free TV licences for those aged 75 and over were partially funded by DWP as agreed at the 2015 funding settlement and leading to the BBC taking responsibility for funding and policy from June 2020. The figure of £52m is the DWP’s share only, not the total expenditure.

The table below provides estimates of the costs and caseloads for 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 years and over in Wallasey constituency and Merseyside local authority.

The most recent figures available for parliamentary constituency and local authority are for 2017/18. Figures for 2018/19 will be available later this month.

Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)

2017-18

(a) Wallasey constituency

£1.0

(b) Merseyside metropolitan county

£14.9

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