/Charity warns BBC over plan to strip over 75s of the free TV licence

Charity warns BBC over plan to strip over 75s of the free TV licence

Thousands of over-75s will struggle to pay for a TV licence when the BBC scales back the benefit later this year, new study finds

  • Age UK claims hundreds of thousands of pensioners will face difficulties 
  • The BBC has announced it will limit the number of free TV licences for over 75s
  • Former Chancellor George Osborne insisted the BBC should carry the cost 
  • The charity warned elderly viewers on low fixed incomes will be hardest hit 

Hundreds of thousands of over-75s will struggle to pay for their TV licences when the BBC drastically scales back the benefit this summer, a major study has warned.

Age UK said the plans will be a ‘shock to the budgets of many older people’ and ‘may be too much’ for them.

The charity warned the hardest-hit will be elderly viewers ‘struggling on a low fixed income’ and those ‘battling loneliness, ill health and disabilities’.

Age UK has warned that hundreds of thousands of over 75s could struggle to pay for their TV licences if the BBC scales back on the benefit this summer

Age UK has warned that hundreds of thousands of over 75s could struggle to pay for their TV licences if the BBC scales back on the benefit this summer

Age UK has warned that hundreds of thousands of over 75s could struggle to pay for their TV licences if the BBC scales back on the benefit this summer

BBC Director General Tony Hall, pictured, resigned from the corporation this week. His successor will have to come up with a plan

BBC Director General Tony Hall, pictured, resigned from the corporation this week. His successor will have to come up with a plan

BBC Director General Tony Hall, pictured, resigned from the corporation this week. His successor will have to come up with a plan 

And it pointed out the current £154.50 annual fee costs more than three monthly gas bills or electricity bills, or more than five monthly water bills.

The study comes amid growing tension between the Government and the BBC over the issue. After director-general Lord Hall quit this week, Boris Johnson expects the new boss to review the decision, after saying in his election manifesto he ‘recognises the value of free TV licences for over-75s’.

Under the proposed system, only low-income over-75s on Pension Credit would receive free licences.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director called on the Government and BBC to ‘sit down together now and broker a solution’. She said an extra ‘£150–plus a year will be a bridge too far’ for many, adding: ‘It’s completely wrong to put the oldest people in our society through this.’ 

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