BBC ‘may delay scrapping of free TV licences for over 75s until October’
THE BBC could delay the scrapping of free TV licences for the over 75s until October, it was reported today.
The corporation has already put plans to force more people to pay the £157.50 fee on ice until August due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
But now it could be extended until October, the Sunday Times reported.
The move is set to be discussed at a board meeting next month, it said.
But senior BBC figures have allegedly signalled they want to delay the unpopular change again.
A Whitehall insider said: “They’ve said August, but we’ve been told from the top of the BBC that they’re going to extend that to October.
“They say they won’t go any later than that — that’s the crux point and the government won’t intervene on that. It also won’t bail them out.”
The BBC said the decision was still “under review” at the moment and no decisions had yet been made.
The new scheme is expected to cost the Beeb £250million – £495 million less than it would be if the current scheme had been extended.
It was estimated that the total cost would have reached £745 million a year – equivalent to around a fifth of the BBC’s spending on services.
After August only one million pensioners who get pension credit will be allowed to get their licence for free – a move which has sparked outrage among MPs.
Julian Knight, a Conservative MP and chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, said: “If this is postponed, it will be welcome to the millions of Britons who faced losing their TV licence in the middle of a pandemic.
“I would hope any further delay would give the government and the BBC an opportunity to come together and thrash out a settlement to ensure that free TVs are retained for the remainder of the charter period [until 2027].”
Most read in News
A BBC spokesperson said:”The BBC has made no such decision and it is wrong to suggest we have.
“The BBC’s position is that we have delayed implementation until August – and we are doing what we have always said – which is keeping that decision under review.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
Thanks for support, sharing are most welcome ~