Television Licences: Concessions

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who are registered blind and qualify for the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 75 who claim the 50 per cent discount of the television licence.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee and all of its concessions. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport therefore does not hold information on the number of people who claim, or are eligible for, the blind (severely sight impaired) TV licence concession.

Local authorities hold the register of those who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, and NHS Digital published a report in 2017 on the numbers of people registered. This report can be found here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people/registered-blind-and-partially-sighted-people-england-2016-17.

The Government is deeply disappointed in the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75s licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. The BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision and must look at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

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