Scrap free TV licence?

It's free for over-75s, but BBC wants to raise age threshold

Daily Express

Readers slam 'Scrooge BBC' over licence plan

DAILY Express readers have branded BBC plans to scrap the free TV licence for over-75s as "mean" and "Scrooge-like" in an avalanche of letters and emails.

The outcry follows revelations yesterday that the publicly-funded broadcaster was thinking of introducing means-testing for the elderly in a bid to slash the number who escape paying for the licence.

Alfred Penderel Bright, 81, of Harrogate, North Yorks, said: "My wife, who is 87, and I consider that scrapping free TV licences for the over-75s is as mean as mean can be.

"The BBC should be severely reprimanded for even considering this Scrooge-style cut and I hope the complaints will make them think twice about it.

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Licence to thrill: how much does a TV licence cost, and what does it cover?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

“The only way I can afford to pay for my TV Licence is if I sell my hamster, is that what you want me to do?”

People will say anything to get out of paying their TV Licence. Among the creative excuses, one person admitted that they stole their TV, so why should they pay for a licence; another reasoned that because they own a Corgi, the favoured species of dog owned by the Queen, they didn't think it was necessary to own a TV Licence.

The Queen does not have to pay her licence fee, but other members of the Royal Family do.

However, they may not be laughing as licence fee dodgers could face a maximum fine of £1,000 plus any other legal costs and/or compensation.

Under the Communications Act 2003, it is illegal to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service.

The TV Licence is a tax collected by the BBC to fund their TV, radio and online output.

Currently, the licence fee costs £150.50 (or £50.50 for a black and white television set). The licence fee is provided for free to over 75s by the Government. There are still 7,000 UK households watching television through black and white sets more than 50 years after the advent of colour programming, the Guardian reports. The highest number of people watching black and white TV is in London (1,768), followed by the West Midlands (431) and Greater Manchester (390).

As long as you do not watch or record live TV, you do not need a licence. The Plymouth Herald lists the services you can use on your TV without paying the licence fee:

  • On demand – including catch-up TV and on demand previews – through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV , Apple TV , Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV

  • On demand movies from providers like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video

  • Recorded films and programmes either from a disc (e.g. DVD or Blu-ray) or downloaded from the internet

  • On demand internet video clips through services like YouTube

Over £3.8 billion was collected from licence fees between 2017 and 2018, making up 75.7 per cent of the BBC's total income. The government provided £655.3 million - or 17.1 per cent - for those over the age of 75.

Hamsters, corgis and indeed illegally obtained television sets do not make you immune from the TV Licence. The creativity should be kept for the programmes on the box, and not the excuses for failing to cough up.

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Evening Standard

Free TV licence age 'could increase to 80'

The age at which people receive a free TV licence could increase to 80, a report said.

The option is one of four which has been put forward in a Frontier Economics report as the BBC prepares to take over the funding of concessionary licences in 2020.

Previously, free licences for over-75s were paid for by the Department of Work and Pensions, but the corporation is expected to lose out on more than £725 million in revenue when it takes on the full cost of providing the concession for elderly viewers in two years' time.

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