BBC to re­view free TV li­cence fees

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

Free TV li­cence fees for over-75s are to be re­viewed, the BBC has con­firmed.

The cor­po­ra­tion took over the cost from the UK Gov­ern­ment of pro­vid­ing free TV li­cences for over-75s as part of its char­ter re­newal ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The move is be­ing phased in from 2018-19 with sole re­spon­si­bil­ity from 2020, when it is es­ti­mated to cost the broad­caster £725 mil­lion.

BBC direc­tor gen­eral Lord Hall told the dig­i­tal, cul­ture, me­dia and sport com­mit­tee: “The con­ces­sion, as it’s cur­rently for­mu­lated, comes to an end in June 2020. That was part of the last li­cence fee set­tle­ment. We, the board, have got to de­cide what to re­place it with. We have got to be mind­ful. We know that those over 65 or over 75 con­sume many, many more BBC ser­vices than oth­ers. There is real hard­ship among some or many of those over 75 too.”

Pressed on whether the free li­cence for over-75s would be re­placed, he told MPS: “It could be the same. The board could say we will just con­tinue with it as it is. It could be re­formed. There’s a whole load of op­tions.

“We are just not in a po­si­tion to say what the right op­tion will be. We have got to have a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion about what we do. “

He added: “We will make a de­ci­sion at some point in the au­tumn or win­ter.”

A BBC spokesman said it was obliged to con­sult on what the pol­icy would be from 2020 as part of char­ter re­newal.

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