BBC warns unless over-75s pay for a TV licence it may have to "fundamentally change" with cuts to service

Published by Stephen Little on 21 November 2018.
Last updated on 04 December 2018

TV set and remote control

The BBC says it may have to cut services unless over-75s start paying the licence fee, as it launched a consultation on the matter.

At the moment, all households with people aged over 75 are entitled to receive a free TV licence which costs £745 million a year and is due to finish in June 2020.

Moneywise reported in October that free TV licences for over-75s could be scrapped.

Now, the corporation has launched a consultation with a number of proposals to compensate for the loss of government funding for the scheme.

The broadcaster has warned that if the BBC renews the scheme this would cost around a fifth of its budget - the equivalent to what it spends on BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, CBBC and CBeebies.

That would mean over-75s would not have to pay, as at present, but the corporation says it would “fundamentally change” the BBC because of the scale of service cuts it would need to make.

One option would be to reinstate the fee for those over 75, but this would particularly hit poorer pensioners and mean they could be prosecuted for failing to pay.

Other proposals include raising the age of a free licence from 75 to 80 or introducing means-testing so that only those that can afford it pay.

Alternatively, a discount of 50% could be offered for older people, although this would still mean a shortfall in funding.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 12 February. The BBC says it hopes to make a decision by next summer.

Charity Age UK opposes the change, saying there are “significant practical difficulties and create unfairness for different groups of older people”.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says: “There are two million people aged 75-plus, one in two of whom is disabled and one in four of whom view the television as their main form of companionship.

"For many others, including those who are chronically lonely - a social problem we are far more aware of than was the case a few years ago - the TV is a precious window on the world.”

She adds: “The BBC took on responsibility for the concession as part of a broader deal with the Government in which they received some significant benefits.

"Now it is their responsibility to appreciate the very significant role that television plays in many older people's lives and the damaging consequences of watering the concession down or removing it from them.”

People aged over 75 currently don’t have to pay the licence fee, saving £150.50 each year.

Free TV licences for the over-75s were introduced by the Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2001.

However, in 2015 the government announced it would no longer subsidise the cost of the licence fee and the BBC would have to find the funding itself.

Tony Hall, BBC director-general, says: “We have set out a range of options - each has merits and consequences, with implications for the future of the BBC, and for everyone, including older people.

"We need to hear views to help the BBC make the best and fairest decision.”

If you would like to have a say in the consultation, you can do so on the BBC website

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Typical, just when I’m nearly

Typical, just when I’m nearly qualifying for it!! Story of my life,

Maybe they should start by

Maybe they should start by cutting back on excessive salaries for jobs a school kid could do, a lot of programs they have produced for their radio and TV services are utter rubbish. Where commercial TV would loose advertising revenue for poor programs there is no way to punish the BBC other than getting rid of TV to stop paying license, that thn deprives us of watching commercial TV, time to end the license fee and make the BBC survive off advertising.

The license should be means

The license should be means tested for all. Even if we have to put up with adds .Staff should be paid less ..no mor than 50 k.if the salary is too low move over to other channels who probably wouldn't want the majority of them...Very poor service and bias

I agree with most of your

I agree with most of your comment except means testing as those who have paid nothing in on benefits and GPC are the ones who would be getting it free like everything else, those who don't qualify for full pension are better off on GPC than those who paid in full credits. I am 71 and live on just my state pension and can't got out much, in 4 years I would get free license but not sure we really need it, my old mother and her sister both managed with just a radio, TV is not an essential service. I agree cut BBC pay and go commercial with no license. Families with an over 75 living with them should not get free license, only if pensioner in own home with now wage earners.

I don't know who the BBC are

I don't know who the BBC are trying to fool. They pay their stars and presenters Premier League Football salaries and then say they may have to cut services if they continue to offer free TV licences to over 75s. They need to stop paying these people extortionate salaries then they can afford to offer free TV licences to over 75s. Their excuses don't fool anyone.

Why not make the BBC a pay to

Why not make the BBC a pay to view station and do away with the licence altogether or would they loose the EU funding they get. If it was a pay to view they would find out how few people really watch the biased rubbish they turn out anyway.

2,000,000 over 75s at £150.50

2,000,000 over 75s at £150.50 each = £745,000,000 ??? Who is doing the arithmetic - maybe the Government should start a new study?

Diane Abbott, who else.

Diane Abbott, who else.

Lord Tony Hall was last year

Lord Tony Hall was last year revealed in the BBC's annual report to be in the £450,000-£499,999 bracket when the broadcaster published a list of its top earners.
Quote from Tony: 'I'm extremely well paid and I will leave it at that. I think I am paid properly for what I do and I'll just leave it at that.'
Guess where I think any cut should be made!

try paying your overpaid so

try paying your overpaid so called stars & your general employees rates that the rest of the country enjoys & please don't say they will go elsewhere there are plenty of people who could & would be happy to replace them.

Poor BBC .. they might then

Poor BBC .. they might then have to take a pay cut in their ridiculously excessive salaries and reduce all those Managers. Better still, scrap the Licence Fee altogether!!!

Like buses, they can't

Like buses, they can't operate without fees. The people who need them most are the elderly, they don't pay, and they are the ones who miss them most when they no longer exist.

The free bus pass was a

The free bus pass was a better system in some counties when could only be used off peak and paid a small charge for every trip, could start at 50p for each trip, my mother and aunt used to love it to get to town and visits in evening, they paid 20p per trip must be over 17 years ago. Gordon Brown brought this free one out as a bribe to get votes. Winter fuel allowance and Free TV license ( if it has to stay) should be taxable for those with income above basic tax band.

The numbers related for this

The numbers related for this issue are unbelievable. If the cost of the free licences is £745M/year, and a single licence costs £150.50/year, then there would be 4.95M free licences. Yet Age UK says (above) that there are only 2M people in the country aged 75+. And even if there were 5M people 75+, how many of them need licences? How many are living with another 75+ person? And how many are living in a care home and don't need a licence at all?

BBC what can i say you spend

BBC what can i say you spend money like its going out of fashion on shows that are rubbish and your repeats are now getting out of hand,Stop paying over priced so called well past it stars money for doing sweet nothing and pull your finger out and wake up to what people are saying that you are well past your sell by date.

I think the BBC are greedy

I think the BBC are greedy with the cost of TV Licences and at £150.50 a year there are so many repeats. I live in a house of multiple occupants where there a 4 rooms each paying £150.50 a year making that a total of £602. per year just from one house. Freeview was great when it first stated but now it is full of repeats and when i buy a TV Guide it is almost the same as last weeks with the same films etc. Employees of the BBC are silly high wages all paid for by the public some are on over a million pound contracts. Old people should be entitled to keep their free over 75 licences and if it means helping them i do not mind if the licence fee goes up say £3. to help fund the elderly.

In this stanage only UK seems

In this stanage only UK seems to be at the bottom of league list in the whole world- with high tech /IT/Internet facilities all around only BBC seesm to be thriving on old and out dated imperial system by imposing punitive TV Licence fee.Soon we will be a highly accalimed laughing stock in the whole world .Come on TV fee it is time to abandon TV licence fee and introduce only BBC or ITV or Channel 4 or 5 Fee - which ever channel the viewer wants to watch in a free country like UK, should be able to do so only by paying for that channel or (s), just like we pay for Netflix,Sky and so on.Why can't BBC operate a commercial business (BBC already collecting money from advertisements in US )and become a pay and view channel -are they afraid of losing their monopoly and power!!! Sooner or later they have to. If Brexit is possible ,closure of BBc business is not a remote possibility.Revolt will take place sooner than later once public wake up and realise that licence fee is an infringement on viewers rights..

I won’t be able to afford a

I won’t be able to afford a tv licence I am 80@nd can’t get out do t have many visitors or contact with outside world the tv for me is a way to keep in touch as well as occupying my long days when I’m alone I can’t afford to eat keep warm and pay fort. Ido t ask for benifits but manage sothis would be an extra I would have to try and absorbe with great difficulty

My comments relate to the

My comments relate to the possible change in the paying of TV licences for over 75’s.
Instead cut the ludicrous and grossly excessive salaries of the so called presenters, such as Lineker, Shearer, et al.

SIMPLE. cut out the 2 and 3

SIMPLE. cut out the 2 and 3 million pound salaries and jobs for the boys and tory palls job done.