Free TV licences for over-75s could be scrapped

Published by Edmund Greaves on 17 October 2018.
Last updated on 17 October 2018

TV set and remote control

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."

Pensions made simple with PensionBee

  • Combine your old and lost pension pots into one online plan
  • Take complete control and have 24/7 access to your pension balance
  • Your own dedicated BeeKeeper (account manager)
  • Make withdrawals online from the age of 55

Leave a comment

Personally I don't think the

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

I wish in this time of huge

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...........

Draconian rules.Yes, more

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..

That's it. Hit pensioners

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.

Well said. I heartily agree.

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 :-)

Once again pensioners are

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.

We the older generation

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?

I am surprised the government

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.

It wont happen because

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.

People already receiving free

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”.

Couldn't agree more.....most

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

I'm sure you are right about

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!

Please can I keep my free

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

I would willingly voluntarily

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.

I believe over 75s should

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.

Pensioners need heat and

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.

This is a taste of what is

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

Before the government start

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.

I don’t agree with Jo, when

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.

This has been apart of my

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.