Four in five think free TV licences for over-75s should be saved

5 July 2019

Overwhelming majority believe the government should honour its manifesto pledge to protect the benefit until 2022.


A new poll has found that three out of four people believe the government should continue to pay for all over-75s to have a free TV licence.

Research from Age UK shows there has been a huge groundswell of public support for the continuation of free TV licences for the over-75s since the BBC announced it was scrapping the concession.

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, starting in 2020.

However, the Conservative manifesto in the 2017 general election promised to protect free TV licences for the over-75s until 2022.

Around 70% those aged between 18 to 64 years agree that the government and not the BBC should be responsible for funding the licence fee, rising to 92% among the over-75s.

Even more - over four-fifths - think the Conservative Party should keep its manifesto pledge to fund free TV licences until 2022, rising to 98% for the over-75s.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says the level of support for free TV licences was strongest among the over-75s who are more likely to vote in elections.

She says: “It is no good the government saying that it’s up to the BBC to fund the free TV licence for over-75s now. These new findings show that if they stick to this position it is they who will ultimately be held responsible by the public for letting millions of older people down.

 “Above all our research shows that the next Prime Minister will find himself on the wrong side of public opinion, unless he agrees to abide by the manifesto commitment his party made to keep funding TV licences for the over-75s.”

Critics argue that the decision by the then Chancellor George Osborne in 2015 to shift the cost of the licence onto the BBC was a political manoeuvre designed to not only give the Treasury more money, but to also financially weaken the broadcaster, which the public would then blame.

Age UK says it has been flooded with calls and emails from people across the country who are worried about losing their free TV licence.

The charity warns that it will be the most vulnerable older people who will bear the brunt of the decision, including the 2.2 million over-75s with a limiting long-standing illness keeps them largely confined to home and the two million who live alone.

Ms Abrahams says: “Some pundits say that election manifestos are no more than ‘wish lists’, but the public clearly disagrees.

“A promise is a promise and this research shows that if a party ignores a manifesto pledge it risks electoral consequences – especially on an emotive issue like free TV licences for the over-75s which raises questions of fairness towards older people, as well as undermining public trust in politicians.”

Why is the BBC scrapping the TV licence?

After the Conservative government shifted the cost of the licence fee for over-75s to the BBC the corporation was left between a rock and a hard place: either scrap the concession for the elderly or cut broadcasting services.

The cost of funding the TV licence for people aged over 75 is £745 million a year.

The BBC says that to renew the scheme 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.

The current licence fee costs £154.50 for a colour licence and £52 for a black and white licence.

The scrapping of the licence means up to 3.7 million pensioners will have to start paying from June 2020.

Are you still eligible for a free TV licence?

Around 1.5 million households that include someone over 75 claiming pension credit could still be eligible for a free licence. The BBC says you will need to provide evidence that you are in receipt of pension credit to claim a free TV licence.

In order to claim pension credit your weekly income must be less than £167.25 if you’re single, or £255.25 if you are a couple.

The quickest way to apply for pension credit is to call the pension service on 0800 991234. Alternatively, you can check your eligibility online on the government website here:


Tv licences

The conservatives not standing by their pledges in their Election Manifesto turns those pledges into Lies
If they don’t support this cost- Vote against them in the next Election- or at least question anything they have in the next Election Manifesto

In reply to by Kenneth Holden (not verified)

T.V. license for over 75 year old. should not be abolished.

I think it appalling that the T.V. License is being abolished for those over 75 years young. The Government seems to have no idea what it may be like for those on a lower income where the T.V. is a mainstay of life. Brexit will only make life worse for many people .

TV Licences for over 75's

Reinstating a charge for TV for over 75's is just a stealth tax on the elderly, it will only go to the BBC but a large number of this age group watch other channels, some perhaps solely, why should there be a charge for doing that?
The BBC ought to get back to it's founding principal of an informative public service & cut out fancy salaries to so called star 'entertainers', & it's management, & put those values before audience figures.

BBC over 75's TV licence

The BBC is out of control. First they pay obscenely high wages to specific individuals, next they 'balance' the sexism pay row by paying women more (quite rightly so) without hitting the men's pay, next they employ more people, and also increase existing employee wages. Do they have any budgetary policy or is it a case of 'we can dramatically increase revenue by scraping over the 75's free licence fee'. What's next years policy change, the scrappage is only a 1 year gain!

Over 75s TV licences

Remember that it was the Government which previously paid for these and unjustifiably loaded the costs onto the BBC. Whilst I accept that some presenters are overpaid, slashing their salaries would do nothing to restore the benefit.

TV licences for over 75s

Four in five who - over 75s? It's a nonsense that people who can afford something get it for free from the state, regardless of their age. State financial assistance should be exclusively for those who need it, and such over 75s will still be able to claim a free licence, so what's the issue? Same applies to the winter fuel allowance and free bus travel enjoyed by rich pensioners, too.

TV Licences for Over 75's

This is what I might have expected of this lot!


The bbc wastes money hand over fist, a classic example this week was Clive Myreh being sent to Lyon to report from outside the stadium where England’s women had just lost there semi final the the USA. Why on earth did the need to send him there, when their sports reporter and numerous other bbc staff were already covering the event.

Free BBC Licence for Over 75s.

This outcome was horribly predictable, thanks to that devious Chancellor, Osborne and, indeed, confirms that the Tory Party continues to be the Nasty Party, so ironic bearing in mind May’s hollow words to change that image. She could have stopped the BBC’s self serving agenda while she was in power. Her vacillating words and many u-turns come cheap!

If the Government decides to stick to their election pledge of protecting the free licence then they should also do something about BBC snouts buried in troughs of their own creation. That includes introducing a bar on absurd and uncontrolled salaries, more aggressive interference by the Inland Revenue which includes preventing the BBC snouts from paying retrospective and avoided taxes of overpaid and so-called celebrities out of our licence fees.

It’s also not generally known by the public that the BBC actually sends staff as mature students to study at universities on full salaries. Threatening to cut programmes to finance money saved by imposing licence fees for the over-75s would make a lot of sense if they selected the large amount of garbage that they broadcast.

The most heinous aspect of frustrating anyone’s attempt to withdraw from the BBC services, is the nigh impossible set of conditions arrogantly imposed by the BBC. Their stipulations and abuse of power includes requiring disconnection of the aerial from TVs in the house to make it legal not to have to pay for a licence. That would have made sense when only two TV channels existed. We now have in excess of 60 channels, only 3 of which are provided by the BBC. I seldom watch any BBC programme and would happily stop watching it completely and not pay a licence fee. How can any government allow these overpaid administrators of a publicly-owned organisation, tolerate such abuses?

Hall is weakling who is controlled by the snouts in the BBC. All the financial abuses by the BBC and their highly paid management continue unabated, despite recent exposures of corrupt practices.

Free TV licences for over 75's

I got married age 22, (1968) we got our first B/W TV a year later. I have been paying for a TV licence each year for over 50 years plus my income tax. I must have paid many thousands in TV licence fees over the years. They now want to take this perk away from us which will hit those who are just over the threshold and are not on pension credit. And what do we get in return? Repeat after repeat after repeat programmes. The additional money that they will receive by taking this perk away will go to pay footballing fools like Lineker, obscene amounts of money and Mr Hall, the Head of the BBC thinks this is fine. The new PM needs to be pressured to overturn the BBC's decision. Many lonely pensioners depend on their TV for a bit of company. Why should we have to pay for a BBC licence even if we don't watch BBC. Many will say we have a choice Amazon plus other alternatives. Many old people believe these new alternatives are not for them and this should be respected. They do not provide the programmes they want to watch.

Free TV licences 75+

Do 75+ members of the Royal family get free TV licences? Does Paul McCartney?

Over 75 licence fees

Correct me if I am wrong but will failure to pay the licence only result in a civil action rather than the current criminal charge?
If this is the case fighting 2 million cases in court will cost the BBC more than any income from licence fees collected.

Add new comment