South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne is encouraging the public to take part in the BBC’s consultation on whether a TV licence fee concession should be in place for older people from June 2020.
Currently all households with people over 75 are entitled to a free TV licence. This scheme – which is expected to cost £745m by 2021/22 - comes to an end in June 2020. The BBC is consulting on any future scheme and how it intends to pay for it.
Mr Dunne said: “These changes will potentially affect many people in South Shropshire. So I encourage constituents to contribute to the consultation if they can, to ensure that the BBC’s decision on fee concessions for older people reflects the priorities of viewers and listeners.”
The BBC are considering a range of options, including:
· Continuing to provide free licence fee entitlement to the over 75s copy the scheme, but that could cost around a fifth of its budget. This would mean over 75s would not have to pay, as at present, but would necessitate service cuts.
· Restoring the universal licence fee that existed in the past, meaning no concession.
· Or take neither of those choices and reform the scheme. There are different ways of doing this, including:
1) Discounting the cost of a licence fee for older people. This would reduce the impact of cuts to BBC services, but would mean everyone over 75 would pay something, for example 50%.
2) Raising the age from 75 to 80, which would reduce the financial impact on the BBC but keep free licences for the oldest households.
3) Introducing means-testing - so that older people in greater financial need wouldn’t pay, but those who could afford it would. This would also reduce the impact on BBC services, while protecting the most vulnerable.
Members of the public can take part in the consultation at https://www.bbc.com/yoursay.