In 1999, free TV licences for the over 75’s were introduced and it was agreed that the cost of providing this universal benefit should be paid by the Department of Work and Pensions to the BBC
In 2015, the Conservative Government struck a deal that would see the responsibility for payment of this benefit no longer be that of the government but instead responsibility would now be with the BBC to shoulder the cost of the scheme from 2020 onwards, thus ensuring that any unpopular decisions on charging pensioners have to be made by the BBC Board rather than government ministers.
We do not believe that the government should have privatised welfare policy in this way, nor do we support means testing of the benefit.
A consultation has been put out by the BBC calling on comments from licence payers and consumers which highlights the cost of the scheme to them but says nothing about the detrimental impact that withdrawing this benefit will have on those over 75.
As the BBC has now made the decision to means test the TV licence, with it now only being eligible to those on Pension Credit, the SPF will be joining initiatives across the UK to challenge the Westminster government's decision to transfer the ability to change social policy to the BBC and their broken manifesto promises. Join us there!
The SPF believe that the over 75’s TV licence is an essential lifeline for many older people and have created a campaign through 38 Degrees emphasising this. We would be obliged if you would sign our petition, which can be found here: