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BBC pushes ahead with axe of free TV licences for over-75s

BBC pushes ahead with axe of free TV licences for over-75s
© Reuters
The provision of free TV licences for those aged over 75 will come to an end on August 1, the BBC confirms.

The provision of free TV licences for those aged over 75 will come to an end on August 1, the BBC has confirmed.

The scheme has been in place and funded by the UK government since 2000 - although the BBC has previously agreed to take on the cost in exchange for an increase in the licence fee.

After the agreement was finalised, however, the BBC said that it was too expensive to maintain due to an ageing population and announced plans to end the scheme on June 1.

The corporation subsequently delayed the implementation of the new rules due to the coronavirus pandemic but has now announced that pensioners aged 75 and over will have to start paying the licence fee from August 1 unless they are in receipt of Pension Credit.

The BBC proceeded with a £3 increase to the licence fee in April, taking the annual cost of a licence to £157.50, the equivalent of around £3 a week.

Government culture minister Matt Warman said: "The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down."

The BBC was handed around £3.7 billion through licence fee revenues in the 2018-19 financial year and is guaranteed to be funded this way until 2027, although its future beyond that is expected to be a hot topic for the current government to decide upon in the next few years.

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