I am urging constituents to take part in the consultation from the BBC on proposals to change the TV licence fee concessions.
At the moment all households with someone aged over 75 are entitled to receive free TV licences. The cost of this scheme has been funded by the UK Government since it was introduced in 2000. In 2020 the current scheme is set to come to an end, along with the Government funding for it. Any new scheme from June 2020 to provide concessions relating to TV licences for older age groups is for the BBC to consult on, decide and then pay for.
This decision is the responsibility of the BBC’s Board but the responses the BBC receives to the consultation will help them decide what to do next.
Should you wish to have your say, the BBC’s consultation is open from Tuesday 20 November 2018 to Tuesday 12 February 2019. To find out more, and to take part, go to bbc.co.uk/yoursay. If you require alternative formats (e.g Braille and audio) the consultation can be accessed by calling 0800 232 1382.
The transfer of BBC licence fee concessions to the Board of the BBC is utterly wrong. It was a way for the UK Government to shift a small, but noticeable policy decision, off its own books and into the hands of the BBC. This has allowed them to push even more austerity onto the BBC and try to dodge the blame for doing it.
At the time of this decision I stated my objections. Now the BBC is undertaking a public consultation on their future arrangements and I urge people to give their thoughts on the future of concessions.
I was proud to be part of the last Labour Government that delivered free TV licences to pensioners over the age of 75. It was an important step for cutting pensioner poverty. This policy needs to continue and I will be arguing that the UK Government should be funding it not the BBC.