At present, households with people over 75 are eligible to receive a free TV licence. This benefit costs £745 million a year which is currently funded through the public purse. In 2020 the government funded scheme is being transferred to the broadcaster; the BBC have calculated that if they were to renew the scheme it would cost around a fifth of their budget. This is equivalent to the amount currently spent on: BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, and the BBC’s children’s channels, or more than the amount the BBC spends on all their radio services.
Therefore, they are currently running a consultation exercise ahead of their decision which is expected to be made in the summer.
The Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, said “While the costs of the schemes are rising, so is the need for our programmes and content. We are looking at options for reform, what’s fair, what’s feasible.”
The BBC have put forward multiple proposals which include: ending the free licence altogether, raising the age of a free licence from 75 to 77 or 80, introducing means-testing, or replacing the current scheme with a 50% concession for all over-75 households.
The consultation exercise is open until the 12th February and the BBC are encouraging people to give their feedback. Please make sure you have your say by clicking on the following link - https://www.bbc.com/yoursay. You will need to go to the ‘Have your Say’ Blue button to submit to the consultation.