Free TV licences for over-75s could be scrapped

17 October 2018
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Over 75s may have to pay the licence fee in future, as study reveals prohibitive cost of funding the concession. 

Currently people aged over 75 enjoy fee-free viewing and use of BBC television and online services such as iPlayer, saving £150.50 each year for a colour TV licence.

However, in 2015 the government decided to shift the financial burden of this concession from Treasury coffers to the BBC. This change is set to take effect in 2020.

Now, a report by Frontier Economics, commissioned by the BBC, has shown that the cost to the broadcaster (in lost revenue the licence fee would otherwise attract from over 75s) would be £745 million per year, rising to £1 billion by 2029/30 due to the UK’s ageing population.

The report notes that older generations have “seen a marked improvement in their absolute and relative living standards” since 1999/2000 when the licence fee concession for over 75s was introduced.

The report adds: “Incomes, wealth and life expectancy of older people have improved significantly, pensioner poverty rates have fallen, and older households report higher well-being on a range of metrics.”

The BBC commissioned the research in order to consider the cost and benefit of maintaining the concession.

That the study confirms the wealth of retirees has improved in the 18 years since the concession’s introduction gives credence to the potential threat of scrapping it altogether.

A BBC spokesperson says: "This is an important discussion paper which we are studying carefully. Their full report - which looks at a range of approaches the BBC could take - will be published shortly. 

"As we have said, the government concession ends in June 2020. We are going to be consulting on what then happens. It might be a concession on the same terms, it might be different concession.”

As of yet it is undecided what will happen to the concession. Frontier Economics will publish its proposals at a later date. Options that could be considered include maintaining the concession, means-testing, or scrapping altogether.

The report says: “These changes give cause for reflection on what an appropriate approach to providing concessionary licences to older households might look like.

“We will shortly publish a detailed report which will explore the impact of continuing the current over-75s concession and a range of possible options for reform.”

The BBC’s spokesperson adds: "There are important issues to consider. We will do nothing without consulting with the public.  Everyone who wants to contribute will be able to do so."

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Personally I don't think the BBC make good use of the licence fee and that it should be abolished completely.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Why don't the BBC take advertisements for products like ITV. That would raise a lot of money.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We the older generation served in the military as National Service for an absolute pittance by way of salary. If you now take away the very few benefits left for pensioners, then make good the income deficit of the National Service years. You will no doubt be aware that pensioners provide a huge number of votes at election time. Dare the govt of any persuasion risk antagonising us?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

That's it. Hit pensioners again. Here's a suggestion. Re- introduce the dog licence at a similar rate to the current TV licence. There are more dogs per head of population than people (given that some people have 4 dogs or more). That would raise more money than stopping the free TV licence.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

People already receiving free tv licences should still beable to keep there tv licences . Pehsps it might be better to sack a few of the high paid staff running it “don’t you think”.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

STUDENTS HAVE TO PAY. Who has more money? A student or a pensioner with a whole life of assets accumulated? It's unfair pensioners get a free ride and those who are working to better themselves still have to pay.Who is side eye, why can’t he give his name like the majority of subscribers, probably a member of the BBC board or employed by them. The fact is ‘side eye’ the majority of pensioners have assets but not cash and it hasn’t been accumulated it’s been earned. And a great many of them have been students themselves and have worked long and hard to acquire those assets. They continue to pay their taxes, supporting many students who still live at home, so if having a free TV licence at 75 gives them a free ride they deserve it.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

STUDENTS HAVE TO PAY. Who has more money? A student or a pensioner with a whole life of assets accumulated? It's unfair pensioners get a free ride and those who are working to better themselves still have to pay.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Dennis Houghton made a good point, it's the usual story of pigs in a trough and lets shaft the elderly. I also wonder how many people actually managed to participate in the BBC's consultation process. It took me a little while to actually access the consultation document, I suspect many people couldn't either because they didn't have internet access or gave up because they couldn't find the appropriate page.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If the cost of a current TV licence is £150 per year how is going to cost the BBC £745 Million to provide them free to pensioners. The cost of a transmission does not increase with an increase in viewers - does it?I feel that, for political reasons, we have often been given too much for free and we should be realistic and understand that it cannot continue. I do not agree with "means testing" as this usually means that the financially careless sponge off of those who have been careful to provide for their own old age. Perhaps a reduction of the fee rather than no fee might be appropriate.!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes, take away their TV licence as most have a better income than those working. Also, reduce their council tax benefits and make them pay.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am 84 and my pension buys less and less as inflation bites. I hardly ever watch BBC and I will will stop viewing TV if I am now going to be charged the full licence fee. It is about time the the licence fee is abolished and the BBC is put on a commercial footing!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Before the BBC decides to charge the over 75's a licence fee, they should stop paying these enormous salaries to people reading the news, programme presenters and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. There are attempts to reduce the increase in pensions which, if carried out, would see any increase completely wiped out by a TV licence Fee.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

They should target the thousands of people the dodge paying, and leave the elderly to enjoy the tv without the worry of having to pay for a licence again,For a start, there are approx 200k people that live on caravan sites for 10 months of the year, then spend 2 months abroad and watch tv without a licence,The reason being they can't buy one (even if they want to) due to the fact they have no POSTCODE,To all those the advocate hitting the over 75s get your priorities right, don't pick on the vulnerable to justify your plumb jobs

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

We are living longer, retiring later BUT the government should never have shifted this funding to the BBC. However do we really need radio 1 and radio 1 extra, Children’s channels , so much sport and the government should fund the World Service. The BBC is needed by pensioners but many will not like paying or being means tested. Come on Parliament do your duty and look after the pensioners

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Maybe pensioners are better off than they used to be. However, we have waited a long time to have more available money to spend. The free tv licence still means a lot to us as £150 is 4 + weeks housekeeping and will mean that a poorer quality and quantity of food will be bought. This in its turn will lead to certain health problems and more pressure on the health service. Why not introduce a charge to pensioners over a certain income. Why give a free licence to a person on a good pension who is well able to afford it. .

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My mum is a pensioner she is 80 and you’re going to take tv licenses away from pensions who have worked all thier life to get a free tv license and you go and take it away from them do this to the rich people not poor people government are to greadey they let Europe get free benefits they treat them in a good way but the uks in a bad way taking things away from them once they taken the licenses away they will loos on it

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I watch very little of the BBC and could get by watching free view without it, and the BBC are being Deceitful when they describe themselves as part of Freeview, their output should be encrypted if you want to pay then it’s your decision the days of a compulsive license fee are truly out of date.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am approaching 75.......My New Years Resolution was to stop watching rubbish on TV so I might as well leave it switched off. My wife pays for Sky and the license fee but if it was up to me the TV would go out the window and I would just listen to the radio. The word 'star' and celebrity is used too freely. How can a crisp eating presenter be worth that kind of salary at the expense of a pensioner? Or the guy with a citrus fruit surname or the guy named after a motorcycle....My God BBC you are so boring !!!!!

In reply to by KELVIN MANSON (not verified)

I wish in this time of huge teqnical advances that I could just watch the channels that I pay to view and cut the bloated left wing BBC channel from my home surely they could do this in this day and age,this by the way is just another tax on the public not a licence...........

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Lonliness is the biggest killer for the ageing population with the feeling of being unwanted by a working population , who have their day to day worries that sets aside problems of others. There needs an action group to ATTACK POLITICIANS with the threat of missing out on an Election votes if this free TV is DUMPED. The running costs of the BBC are getting out of hand considering the salaries being paid to performers with a name.Why are they trying to compete with Independent TV IT IS NOT NECESSARY for what they are expected to do!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I strongly feel TV licence should not be scrapped as TV is the only luxury most pensioners have

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I strongly feel they should not scrap the free TV licence as tv is the only luxury some pensioners have

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I think the Free TV Licence for over 75 should be free. We have worked all are lives and this little luxury is the only bit of enjoyment we have.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Scrap the TV licence concession for the over 75's.?? Scrap the BBC instead!! It's top heavy with "management", who pay themselves far to much for the input they impart. Do away with the overpaid commentators at football matches and so called pundits in the studio ,they are not needed! The BBC think that we ,(the public who pay their eye watering salaries), are incapable of watching a match without being told how to watch it,and as for their collective comments regarding disputed goals,penalties,fouls etc. it is non of their business to dispute the ruling of the officials on the field of play. If they were that good they would be out there doing the job instead of sitting on their collective backsides in a nice warm studio thinking that anything the say is so important to the outcome of the match in question.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If the BBC cut out all the repeats then perhaps we could have a better service wake up BBC get your act together

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This has been apart of my pension for the last 3years will I be compensated for this ,After all you did drop the heating allowance by £50 two or so years ago. Will it be bus passes next?if you made people Apply for these things the rich would not bother.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I don’t agree with Jo, when you get the 2:presenters of strickly come dancing receive more than £800,000 a year combined, the dancers ger £30000 per show and heaven help us how much the judges get why should we the pensioners subsidise such obscene payments.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Before the government start reducing the few extra benefits that pensioners receive they should start looking at reducing their own benefits, like tax free expenses, golden pensions, salary increases when everyone else is denied it.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is a taste of what is ahead of the elderly due to Brexit next will be our bus passes then we will be stuck in our houses no television unable to go out Typical tory policy hit the pensioners (and bearing in mind we are the lowest paid in Europe )they have no shame x

In reply to by A BORISEWITZ (not verified)

I am surprised the government is taking the risk of slamming pensioners. We are the majority of voters. Maybe this issue would bring out the 'don't knows' on election day.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Pensioners need heat and human contact. There are some who can afford the cost of the tv license without worry. There are many who have to make choices between affording heat, food and the 'luxury' of using a tv and radio. Loneliness is a national disease suffered by the elderly. Also, don't forget the burden many pensioners have of supporting the younger generation struggling to afford housing and child care. Not to mention our under 25s who don't even have the right to the minimum wage.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I believe over 75s should contribute to paying for their tv licence as otherwise the quality of programmes will be affected adversely, althouğ some actors and presenters are paid well over what they are worth.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I would willingly voluntarily pay the fee as would some 80% OF OVER 75 s WHO RELY ON AND VALUE the news/drama/ natural history programmes. Please maintain the high standards. We do lead the world , and are envied by many other countries. OUr other public services have been decimated , protect the BBC.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Please can I keep my free licence I only have a small pension and can’t afford to pay

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It wont happen because sitting MPs don't want to lose their seats. Pensioners are the largest block of voters at elections and it's a bit like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Once again pensioners are being attacked, if it isn't Vince Cable saying we shafted the young to these think tanks who want to do away with the triple lock to those now saying do away with free TV licences for the over 75's. Yes many are somewhat better off as previous pensioners but that is because we saved and made sure our pensions would suffice by paying in for them during our working life. When you look at the enormous salaries that many BBC performers receive, and they are performing whether a News Reader or a Show presenter, then cut backs can be achieved there. And remember people have to pay for a TV licence even if they don't watch BBC, that's not right.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Draconian rules.Yes, more mature people with better living standards, can afford to pay a licence fee.Thousands of people over 75 still earning very large sums of money and getting free licence.But: there are lots of poorer people who rely on television as their only source of entertainment.If the free licence is recinded then they should have the opportunity to present their case for continuation of a free licence.Either from the BBC or the government..

In reply to by Barry Bunting (not verified)

Well said. I heartily agree. Maybe the income from dog licenses could pay for street cleaning (washing) and dog wardens to clean up the excrement left on our street, playing fields, parks and beaches. Why the general public find it acceptable to have excrement dumped in public places defeats me. Dog owners should have to prove they have a yard/garden that they train their dogs to use. I trained my dogs to use the yard, picked up after them each time and swilled away with soapy water. There would be uproar if toddlers were allowed to defecate in public. Owners who use doggy bags still leave a greasy smear on the ground which is picked up on footwear and transferred into their homes spreading disease. Rant over :-)

In reply to by Peter Elders (not verified)

No Peter, please. I spent almost my entire career in advertising - when TV advertising was very creative, amusing memorable and well produced. Today it's just mindless rubbish from people who make sandwiches to those who produce tampons and incontinence pants. And instead of a 2 minute break every 30 minutes we are now subjected to 3-4 minute breaks every 15 minutes. I now record programmes on the commercial stations so that I can zip through the ad breaks and avoid the endless, childish, stupid ad output I'm seeing today. No Please keep the BBC ad free.

In reply to by Bernard Ackers (not verified)

I'm sure you are right about 'sacking' some of the more 'high paid' staff who run the BBC. However, I am still amazed at the number of staff engaged in making TV Film or Programmes - they are not all needed!Anyway, most of the Films, Programmes and Plays are made without adequate lighting (why have colour TV with such programmes?)As a matter of fact, where are all the 'decent' actors these days? The BBC seems to accept any old 'rubbish' these days, and pay fortunes for them!

In reply to by Bernard Ackers (not verified)

Couldn't agree more.....most of them are.overpaid and over rated.

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