Tejvan Pettinger

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

By 2021/22 funding free license fees for the over-75s would cost £745m. Under the new scheme, pensioners receiving pension credit will be eligible for a free license, but the rest of pensioners over 75 will have to pay.

Free tv licenses for over 75-year olds were introduced in 2000 by the Labour government who wished to reduce ‘pensioner poverty’. However, the government no longer wishes to maintain that subsidy. In 2015, the Conservative government announced the BBC would take over the cost of providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the fee settlement.

But, now the BBC have decided it is not a fair use of tv license payers money. There has been much criticism of the BBC decision but the opportunity cost of maintaining free tv licenses for over-75 year olds would be less spending on services (spending cuts) and higher license fees for the rest of the population.

Some observations

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