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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I would have thought with the

I would have thought with the amount of immigrants we now have living in the country there is more than enough extra tv licence fees being generated to cover the cost of the elderly having theirs for free. But as always lets blame the elderly for everything, disgraceful way to treat them after everything they have done. Although we will not be able to say that about a lot of the future generations, who when they become elderly have spent all their lives on benefits!

Many of the staff are paid

Many of the staff are paid very high salaries beyond what the BBC can obviously now afford. Many folk approaching and of the 75 year age group in today's financial climate will not be able to fund the license themselves easily. TV is a life blood for many elderly people who may not have interaction with neighbours or family from one week to the next. Maybe means testing is a way forwards as many people will be well able to afford the expense.

Pensioners who get GPC of

Pensioners who get GPC of almost £165 a week automatically get many other benefits too many to list, I know as my ex wife does, I paid in for 50 years to get the old lower pension and can't get these extra benefits so who ae the poorest pensioners. I would stop all extra benefits for those on GPC as they have not paid in or paid too little. A TV is not essential, try a radio like my mother and aunt did. Means testing is wrong way to go.

Get rid of them ... if they

Get rid of them ... if they can screw over 75's of probably the only thing that keeps talking to them every day by diluting their service or costing them to see the service .... they deserve to be shut down entirely.

Instead of considering

Instead of considering charging over-75s for their TV Licence, the BBC needs to seriously review the huge "salaries" they are paying to so-called celebrities such as Gary Lineker etc etc etc. Chop their salaries or get rid of them I say. There's plenty of other people around to step into their shoes and do just as good a job, if not better!

My wife and I feel that TV

My wife and I feel that TV licences for 75+ should be free as many cannot afford one these days and many elderly vulnerable lonely people suffer from this cut.

If the BBC were more careful

If the BBC were more careful of how they manage the licence fee, paying much less to these so called big celebrities, cut pay to directers etc then perhaps they would not need more money. The BBC is over rated and does not give good value for money.

Why do you mugs put up with

Why do you mugs put up with this crap. You are just like sheep. Tell the BBC where to go and don't pay them a penny. Money grabbing swines

I have watched the BBC

I have watched the BBC filming in Huddersfield, and wondered just how much is spent on one day's filming!, seems that money is no object, close the street down change all the signage, for 10 minutes of film. Also see on T.V. so called celebrities living in very expensive house's, look to yourselves B.B.C and make cut backs like the rest of us. How much do you give free to people abroad, you are just a money cow who are now trying to rob the poor pensioners to justfie your ridiculous high wages, we should be given the opt-in as to wether we have the B.B.C channel or not. We already pay for sky/virgin that provide much better programming than the B.B.C YOU ARE OLD AND OVER FUNDED....................

I just can’t afford a tv

I just can’t afford a tv licence I have£330 per month and get no benefits as my husband has pension of £ 700 we have £4 too much to qualify for benefits and we struggle to manage the tv is my only diversion as I am suffered no work th me bility problems so if we ha ve to pay I must give up something else perhaps heating or food I don’t buy new clothes or have a social life so I can’t cut down on that

I am in my 70's living alone

I am in my 70's living alone on old state pension, only extra is reduction on council tax, it's harder for households with only one person and one pension as it costs same for utilities, insurance, repairs, maintenance,. you only have to feed an extra person and it's easier to cook for 2 than for 1 as you receive 2 pensions to pay for it. If you can't afford a TV License then listed to the radio, plenty of old people on their own have to. It's time we stopped all the extra freebies for pensioners and all those on benefits, anyone on GPC should not receive automatic rights to a host of other free benefits as they are getting an equal income. If we have to pay TV License then everyone should, no exceptions, alternative sell off the BBC to the private sector for commercial broadcasting. If I never get a free TV License I will never miss it and those who have had it free will have to adjust their budget if they want it.

Please let me keep my free

Please let me keep my free licence tv is my only diversion as I can’t get out a lot mobility problems prevent me

Plenty more content available

Plenty more content available, I think we should get a referendum on closing down the BBC and stop the rip of Licence fees. How many other countries actually have to have a Licence to use there televisions to watch live broadcasts. The BBC is Rubbish anyway

How about advertising????????

How about advertising????????????????? Why cant the BBC do exactly what all other channels do? Instead of hitting the pockets of the needy. The British Brainwashing Corporation has had its day!!!!!!!!!!!! Advertise or be abandoned!

Dear Tony Hall

Dear Tony Hall
No more talk of degrading means tested "benfits" please, regarding free (at the moment) TV licences for over 75's. This is the age group least likely to claim benefits that could be due to them. They have endured much in the past, so give them a break now, Television can be a lifeline and contact with the outside world if stuck indoors all day, unable to get out.
From Jenny Maywood Flat 17 Fairhaven Court Egham TW20 9DH

Two million pensioners over

Two million pensioners over 75, £150 each does not make £745 m - something is missing in the maths perhaps the scaremongering effect?

all this to pay the BBC staff

all this to pay the BBC staff inflated saleries. So when they force pensioners to pay for a licence for the over 75 i will remove the tv and radio from my house as a matter of principal as the government still subsidise other countries and continue the foreign aid of billions and snub their own pensioners . i hope they try and sue me when i havent got a tv
so if you have no tv they can do nothing to anyone end of story and i hope other pensioners do the same this will put a spanner in their works. BBC you are pathetic.

i will remove my tv and radio

i will remove my tv and radio from my house when they impliment this nonsense and every pensioner should do the same.

I pay for sat TV and it's

I pay for sat TV and it's bloody expensive. I hate the BBC, there is nothing on any of its channels that I want to watch. I do not use their websites, radio stations or iPlayer. I work hard for my money and should not have to pay for another bloody quango.
They should pay for themselves with adverts like all other TV stations, in the end the technology is out there to block TV channels, radio stations and websites. So why don't let the people that want to pay for BBC do so by subscription and the rest of us to pay for what we want?
They are nothing special and should not be treated as such.

I don't watch BBC TV, but I

I don't watch BBC TV, but I still have to pay the "BBC" TV Licence to enable me to watch what is on offer from numerous other sources. I asked TV Licensing what proportion of the "BBC" TV Licence allows me to watch non-BBC TV programmes - this was deemed an non-appropriate question, and would not be answered by TV Licensing or the BBC. I asked the BBC for BBC TV and BBC Local and national audience/ reach data - the BBC refused to supply this data directly. Remember, the BBC continues to tell us, its our (the "BBC" Licence Fee) payers BBC. This allows them to take the "BBC" Licence Fee monies regardless, and overspend, with a smile. Is the potential cancellation of the free Over 75's Free TV Licence, just another example of the BBC's unrestrained greed?