Monday, 6 July 2015

BBC: BBC to fund over-75s' TV licences

Info from BBC online:

The BBC is to cover the cost of providing free television licences for over-75s, the government has confirmed.

Ministers said the move would be phased in from 2018-19.

In return, rules on paying for catch-up services such as (BBC) iPlayer might be introduced and the licence fee will rise with inflation.

Funding free licence fees for over-75s cost the government £608m in 2013-14 - about a fifth of the BBC's budget.

BBC director general Tony Hall said: "Far from being a cut, the way this financial settlement is shaped gives us, effectively, flat licence fee income across the first five years of the next charter."

Shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant said Labour would oppose the government's plans if they were a "smash and grab raid" on the BBC.

Key points
  • The BBC to take responsibility for funding free TV licence fees for the over-75s.
  • The move will be phased in over 2018-19, with sole responsibility from 2020-21.
  • The government could allow the BBC to charge the licence fee to people who watch TV using the iPlayer.
  • Decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee will be "carefully considered" by the government.
  • Subject to charter renewal, the licence fee to rise in line with CPI inflation over the next charter period.
  • BBC funding of the government's broadband programme will be phased out by 2020-21.

The current BBC charter - which sets out the corporation's remit and how it is governed - is due for renewal at the end of 2016.