Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with the BBC to ensure the continuation of the provision of free TV licences for people aged over 75. • Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 18 February 2020),
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness among people aged over 75 who cannot afford a TV licence from June 2020 and are not eligible for pension credit. •Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 18 February 2020),
John Whittingdale Conservative, Maldon
The future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.
The Government is disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.
In 2018 this government published the world’s first government loneliness strategy and appointed the world’s first minister with responsibility for tackling loneliness. In January 2020 we published our first annual report, highlighting the progress made so far. [Which is apparently nil!]
The West Lancashire Pensioners Forum does not support any BBC restrictions on over 75 TV licences, nor does it accept its effect on loneliness.