More than 3 million over-75s to lose their free TV licence

The BBC is making changes to its free TV licence scheme for over-75s. Picture: ANDY HEPBURN/ PA WIRE

The BBC is making changes to its free TV licence scheme for over-75s. Picture: ANDY HEPBURN/ PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Thousands of pensioners who previously had a free TV licence will now have to pay for it, the BBC has announced.

The decision to scrap the blanket-fees follows a consultation with 190,000 people, where 52% were in favour of reforming or abolishing the free licences.

The licence-fees are set to be means-tested from June 2020, meaning households without someone who receives Pension Credit will now have to pay the licence.

Around 3.7 million households will be affected by the move, including hundreds in Suffolk and Essex.

BBC director-general Tony Hall, said the move by the company in attempt to streamline was not an "easy decision".

He added: "Whilst we know that pensioner incomes have improved since 2000, we also know that for some the TV licence is a lot of money."

"I believe we have reached the fairest judgement after weighing up all the different arguments.

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"It would not be right simply to abolish all free licences. Equally, it would not be right to maintain it in perpetuity given the very profound impact that would have on many BBC services.

"This decision is fairest for the poorest pensioners. Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit. It protects those most in need.

"And importantly, it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty; it is the Government who sets and controls that measure.

"It is fairest for all audiences - of all generations, old and young - who we know value the BBC and the programmes and services we provide. It means these services can continue."

The threat of scrapping the free licence drew criticism from campaigners who stressed its importance for the elderly.

Will you or one of your loved ones lose their free licence? Let us know how you feel about the decision by voting in our poll.

Or you can share your views with us here and in the comments below.

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