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Over-75s TV licence fee changes deferred

March 16, 2020

By Colin Mann

In a Joint Statement, the BBC and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have confirmed that changes to the funding of TV Licences for over 75s scheduled to come into effect on June 1st will now take place on August 1st.

The Statement says: “The BBC and the Government have been discussing the national Coronavirus situation.”

“Changes to the TV licence for people aged over 75 had been due to come into effect on 1 June. But during this time we do not want anyone to be worried about any potential change.”

“The BBC’s priority over the coming period will be to do everything we can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public in the weeks and months ahead.”

“Recognising the exceptional circumstances, the BBC Board has therefore decided to change the start date of the new policy. Our current plan is to now bring it into place on 1 August. We will of course keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve.”

Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC, says: “The BBC board has decided to delay changes to over 75s licence fees. We are in exceptional circumstances. Now is not the right time. We are fully focussed on delivering our services to the public at this difficult time.”

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary says: “I am pleased the BBC has worked with us and agreed to delay their licence fee changes for over 75s from coming in and will keep this under review. It will be welcome news to millions of older people who now don’t need to worry about their TV licence during this challenging period. It is right that the BBC have recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by the Coronavirus outbreak and the need for the whole country to pull together in the national effort.”

Responding to the announcement,  DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “We welcome this news at what will be a time of great anxiety, particularly for those over 75. Television and radio broadcasts will offer comfort as well as being a vital means for accessing public information.”

“However, this delay seems to offer a short-term fix to a much wider problem. What we want is to see is renewed efforts from the Government and the BBC to sit down and resolve this issue once and for all.”


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