Take back responsibility for funding free licences for over 75s from the BBC

The BBC has proved incapable of managing and funding the concessionary licence scheme for the over 75s. It axed the scheme, ignored mass protests and has no democratic accountability. Government should be politically accountable for benefits, not a media company. Take back control.

11,101 Signatures

Status: Open
Opened: 10 Dec 2020, 11:15 a.m.
Last 24 hours signatures : 6
Estimated Final Signatures: 23,856

Daily Rank: #532 • Weekly Rank: #234 • Total Rank: #133


This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
Recent Documents related to Take back responsibility for funding free licences for over 75s from the BBC

1. Free Public Transport and TV Licences for Older People
06/06/2019 - Parliamentary Research

Found: Briefing Nicola Newson | 6 June 2019 Free Public Transport and TV Licences for Older People Debate on 13 June

2. Independent Age - written evidence
16/07/2019 - Inquiry: BBC Annual Report 2018-19 and TV licences for over 75s - Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
- View source

Found: regular contact, a strong campaigning voice, and free, impartial advice on the issues that matter to older

3. 1st Special Report: BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19: TV licences for over 75s: Government and the BBC’s Responses
16/03/2020 - Inquiry: 1st Special Report: BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19: TV licences for over 75s: Government and the BBC’s Responses - Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
- View source

Found: Culture, Media and Sport Committee BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2018Œ19: TV licences for over 75s

4. Future of mobility: governance of UK transport infrastructures annex
31/01/2019 - Government Office for Science (GO-Science)
- View source

Found: ............................... 10 1.1.4 Funding and financing .............................

5. BBC Annual Report and Accounts for 2019/20
17/12/2020 - BBC
- View source

Found: BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 Presented

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Take back responsibility for funding free licences for over 75s from the BBC

1. TV Licences for Over-75s
08/05/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: 2017 manifesto promise to maintain free TV licences for the over-75s for the duration of this Parliament - Speech Link
2: 2017 manifesto promise to maintain free TV licences for the over-75s for the duration of this Parliament - Speech Link
3: other pensioner benefits, including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration - Speech Link
4: I asked the Prime Minister a question about TV licences and bus passes and got an extremely vague answer - Speech Link
5: concession for over-75s ends, more than 5,000 households in Slough could lose their TV licences. As my hon. Friend - Speech Link

2. Older Persons: Provision of Public Services
13/06/2019 - Lords Chamber

1: provision of free public transport and television licences for older persons as a means to alleviate loneliness - Speech Link
2: some colleagues know, in age-related issues, dating back to the 1970s, when I was director of Age Concern - Speech Link

3. BBC Licence Fee
06/02/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: Culture, Media and Sport to make a statement on the Government’s plans for the future of the BBC licence - Speech Link
2: that we as a Government place on it. Globally, the BBC is seen as a beacon of British values. It is one - Speech Link
3: broadcaster, the BBC is central to the lives of our constituents: 91% of Britons use the BBC every week, and - Speech Link

4. BBC
15/07/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: e-petitions 234627, 234797 and 235653 relating to the BBC.It is a great pleasure to be here under your - Speech Link
2: Lady just said that we ought to be proud of the BBC. Does she acknowledge that, as a country, we are - Speech Link
3: get rid of the licence fee ought to remember that a public service broadcaster is free of commercial and - Speech Link

5. BBC
21/07/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on changes to the licence fee exemptions, - Speech Link
2: demonstrating that persistence pays off.The BBC has for decades played a vital role in this country’s - Speech Link

6. Free TV Licences: Over-75s
11/06/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: of the licence fee when we agreed a funding settlement with the BBC in 2015 to provide the BBC with financial - Speech Link

7. Digital Economy Bill (Tenth sitting)
27/10/2016 - Public Bill Committees

1: has responded to that and what steps he intends to take on that point.Finally, the national statistician - Speech Link
2: enormously from these measures. The potential benefits from increased access to information extend far - Speech Link
3: share information, based on assessment of the benefits and risks of disclosure and taking into account - Speech Link
4: judgment is usually reserved. That judgment can take anything from weeks to up to a year. Parties then - Speech Link
5: is quite an achievement to get BT, Sky, Virgin Media, Vodafone and O2 in agreement. I share the hon. - Speech Link
6: just that, but is it not the case that the price control decisions of both Ofgem and Ofwat are subject to - Speech Link
7: process does not, because a judicial review can take into account those sorts of concerns but is a more - Speech Link

8. Oral Answers to Questions
04/07/2019 - Commons Chamber

1: activities for our young people through £80 million of funding, and of course we have the National Citizen Service - Speech Link
2: violence in April this year. It is right that we take a multi-agency approach to tackling knife crime - Speech Link
3: the knife crime summit was that particular social media platforms are allowing groups to come together, - Speech Link
4: philanthropy. I thank people for giving directly back to their community, which we encourage in the civil - Speech Link
5: gigabit connectivity programme, with £200 million of funding, to begin to deliver even faster, gigabit speeds - Speech Link
6: quite socially isolated? Will she set out what funding she will put in place to deal with the geography - Speech Link
7: to that. I also want to mention that the voucher scheme has been enhanced, so that small and medium-sized - Speech Link
8: the confidence and supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist party, the Government have set aside - Speech Link

9. BBC and Public Service Broadcasting
05/03/2020 - Lords Chamber

1: debate would be, so I ought to apologise to Back-Bench speakers. I can only offer them the advice of the - Speech Link

10. BBC Charter Review (Communications Committee Report)
21/04/2016 - Lords Chamber

1: I am delighted to open this debate on the report BBC Charter Review: Reith not Revolution from the House - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Take back responsibility for funding free licences for over 75s from the BBC
Latest Questions

You may be interested in these active petitions

1. Increase funding for crisis and acute mental health services - 5,492 signatures
2. Negotiate a visa-free permit for European travel for athletes - 5,424 signatures
3. Extend furlough beyond October for the travel industry. - 51,502 signatures
4. Waive the January 2021 tax bill for those who have been excluded from the SEISS - 11,948 signatures
5. Lower the price of the £210 COVID Home Test Kits for travellers entering the UK - 5,445 signatures

This petition is supported by Silver Voices, which has been leading the protests against the scrapping of free TV licences for the over 75s. Over one million over 75s' households are either refusing, or are unable, to pay the £157-50 fee. Many will have to choose between heating, food and their constant companion the TV. Poverty and loneliness will increase among older people as a result of this cruel policy. Both the Government and the BBC have broken their pledges to keep this benefit.


Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

1,681 signatures - 15.0% of total

Responsive image

Government Response

From June 2020, the BBC is responsible for setting out and paying for any concession providing free TV licences to those aged 75 and over. The BBC consulted widely on the future of the concession.


In the 2015 funding settlement, the government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020. The government and the BBC agreed this is a fair deal for the BBC - in return we closed the iPlayer loophole, committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation, and reduced a number of other spending commitments. At the time, the former Director General of the BBC Lord Hall said on the Today programme that the agreement was a ‘strong deal’ which provided the BBC with ‘financial stability’.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament. This legislation therefore provides that the future of the concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not of the government.

From 20 November 2018 to 12 February 2019, the BBC held an open consultation on the over 75 licence fee concession and options for the future concession. The BBC consulted on three key options: maintaining the concession; restoring a universal licence fee; and reforming the concession of a discounted licence for older people by raising the age threshold or making eligibility based on means-testing. More than 190,000 people responded to the consultation, including 115 stakeholders such as 38 Degrees and Age UK.

Following the public consultation, the BBC Board decided that from June 2020, any household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit will be entitled to a free TV licence paid for by the BBC. However, recognising the circumstances posed by the national Coronavirus situation, the BBC Board decided to change the start date of the new policy, which came into effect on 1 August 2020.

The Government is deeply 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. The BBC must look further at how it uses its substantial licence fee income to support older people.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport