Next PM must resolve furore over free TV licences for over-75s – The Yorkshire Post says

AS the Government and the BBC continue to point fingers at each other over the scrapping of universal free TV licences to over-75s, it is worth reiterating that both sides are breaking promises made to blameless older viewers in the unsavoury row.

The BBC is to axe free TV licences for people aged over 75.
The BBC is to axe free TV licences for people aged over 75.

From June 2020, the concession will only be available to households where someone receives pension credit rather than everyone over 75 as is the case now.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has told MPs that the BBC must “do better” to expand the offer, while Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson made the pertinent point that the change will particularly affect 1.5 million widowers who are now due to lose their free licence which is a source of priceless companionship, entertainment and a link to the wider world.

The BBc is at the centre of fresh controversy over the axing of free TV licences for the over-75s.

The history of how this situation has come to pass bears repeating. In 2015, the BBC agreed to pay the cost of providing free TV licences for people aged over 75 in return for the licence fee increasing in line with inflation for five years. It has taken the extra money after making the commitment but is now complaining about the results of its own decision.

However, the Conservative party manifesto of 2017 also made an unambiguous commitment that the benefit would be retained for the duration of this Parliament up until 2022. Currently, it does not appear that promise to voters will be fulfilled. There will be plenty in the in-tray of whoever succeeds Theresa May as Prime Minister in a few weeks, but resolving this situation should be very high on the agenda.