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Television: Licensing

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 18th February 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with the BBC to ensure the continuation of the provision of free TV licences for people aged over 75.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness among people aged over 75 who cannot afford a TV licence from June 2020 and are not eligible for pension credit.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In 2018 this government published the world's first government loneliness strategy and appointed the world's first minister with responsibility for tackling loneliness. In January 2020 we published our first annual report, highlighting the progress made so far.

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