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The BBC is scrapping free TV licences for over-75s

The British broadcaster said “fairness” was the driving force behind the decision.

Image: Shutterstock/Alrandir

THE BBC HAS announced that it is scrapping blanket free TV licences for people over the age of 75 in a move that will see millions of UK households having to pay £154.50 (€173.24) for the right to watch TV and for access to the BBC’s iPlayer.

 The broadcaster said TV will remain free for households with one person who receives Pension Credit when the fees kick-in in June 2020.

In announcing the decision the BBC’s board said: “This is an outcome that is the fairest possible in difficult circumstances.”

Its Director-General Tony Hall added that it’s “fairest for all audiences of all generations, old and young”.

Pension Credit is a non-taxable weekly top up for UK pensioners based on their income. The BBC say around 900,000 households receive the payment however charities are warning that 1.3 million families who are entitled to the benefit do not claim it.

Age UK said the decision will cause many older people “huge anxiety and distress”. 

“But this is the Government’s fault, not the BBC’s. It is open to a new Prime Minister to intervene,” it added.

In launching a petition against the measure the charity said it will mean that at least 650,000 of the UK’s poorest pensioners will be hit with a new bill that “they simply can’t afford”.

In its report on the development The Guardian noted that the BBC announced the change on a day when multiple Conservative Party leadership candidates formally launched their campaigns.

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Ceimin Burke

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