PM: BBC must ‘cough up’ for over-75s TV licences

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Image copyright Georgia Scott/Age UK
Image caption The financing choice caused demonstrations from pensioners

The BBC ought to “spend” and spend for TELEVISION licences for all over-75s, the prime minister has actually stated.

It follows the BBC revealed in June that it would limit the advantage to those in low-income families.

Speaking to press reporters at the G7 top, Boris Johnson stated the BBC’s financing settlement had actually been conditional on it continuing to money the totally free licences – something the corporation disagreements.

Labour implicated the PM of blaming the broadcaster for federal government policy.

The BBC formerly stated it would restrict complimentary licences to low-income homes to avoid it needing to close services such as BBC Two and Radio 5 Live.

Continuing to money the totally free licences would have cost £ 745m -a fifth of its spending plan – by 2021-22, the corporation stated.

The choice, indicating around 3.7 million individuals aged over 75 will need to pay £ 154.50 for a colour TELEVISION licence from next June, triggered demonstrations outside BBC studios.

Mr Johnson informed press reporters at the top in Biarritz, southern France: “The BBC got a settlement that was conditional upon their spending for TELEVISION licences for the over-75s.

“They ought to spend.”

People aged over 75 were given complimentary TELEVISION licences when Labour was in power, in 2000. Keeping it was a Conservative manifesto promise in 2017.

However, the charter contract worked out with Conservative ministers in 2015 saw the BBC presume obligation for moneying the dedication from 2020.

A BBC spokesperson stated: “It was the federal government which chose to stop moneying totally free TELEVISION licences for the over-75s, and Parliament offered duty to the BBC to decide on the future of the plan.

“There was no assurance that the BBC would continue to money totally free licences for the over-75s.”

In June, the culture secretary at the time the settlement was reached, John Whittingdale, stated “it was comprehended that this would be a possible result”.

In the exact same month, the BBC firmly insisted that cutting stars’ wages would not conserve adequate cash to spend for over-75s’ licences.

“Even if we stopped using every speaker making more than £ 150,000, that would conserve less than £ 20m,”stated director of policy Clare Sumner.

“If no senior supervisor were paid over £ 150,000 that would conserve just £ 5m.”

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Labour implicated Mr Johnson of “passing the dollar”

Limiting the plan to families where a single person gets pension credit is anticipated to cost the BBC around £ 250 million by 2021-22.

However, a No 10 source stated BBC earnings had actually been increased by needing iPlayer users to have a licence and connecting licence cost increases to inflation.

“At the time, the director general stated it was a ‘strong offer for the BBC’ and supplied ‘monetary stability’,” the source stated, including: “The BBC needs to honour this contract.”

‘Disregard for older individuals’

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson gotten in touch with the federal government to stop “passing the dollar”.

“This prime minister’s neglect for older individuals is terrible,” he stated.

“Because of this federal government’s rejection to money the concession, countless older individuals will have their totally free TELEVISION licences ditched next year.”

Some 634,334 individuals have signed a petition arranged by charity Age UK , which is getting in touch with the federal government to reclaim duty for moneying the complimentary licences and honour the 2017 manifesto dedication.

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams stated: “The BBC and the federal government plainly remain in various put on this and it is old individuals who remain in the middle – which we are really uneasy about.

“The federal government developed this scenario by passing duty for the licence cost to the BBC at the last settlement without providing all the cash to spend for it.

“Whether the BBC is rather as skint as it is informing everyone I can’t perhaps state, I’m not a media analyst.

“It would be reasonable for the 2 celebrations to come together and attempt and draw a line to stop this intensifying row.”

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Media caption The BBC’s director basic Lord Hall describes the choice to cut totally free TELEVISION licences for the majority of pensioners

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49469337

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