Television Licences: Older People

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 11 September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Lord Maginnis of Drumglass Independent Ulster Unionist

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they attached any conditions to the agreement for the BBC to fund TV licences for those aged over 75; what plans they have to reduce any grants to the BBC in line with the decision to discontinue free TV licences for those aged over 75; and what plans they have, if any, to meet the costs of providing such TV licences.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

In the 2015 Licence Fee funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that the BBC would take responsibility for the over 75s concession from June 2020. In return, the Government closed the iPlayer loophole, agreed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation for the duration of the settlement period, and reduced other BBC spending commitments. In advance of the BBC taking on full responsibility for the concession, the Government also provided phased transitional funding to the BBC to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

The BBC is responsible for the over 75 licence fee concession, not the Government. Following a public consultation, the BBC Board decided that from June 2020, any household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit will be entitled to a free TV licence paid for by the BBC. The Government is deeply disappointed that the BBC has chosen not to extend the over 75 licence fee concession in full. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

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