Following a public consultation, the BBC Board has 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.
Currently all households with people over 75 are entitled to a free TV licence. That Government-funded scheme - which is expected to cost £745m by 2021/22 - comes to an end in 2020. The BBC was given responsibility – through legislation - for deciding on any future scheme and to pay for it.
The Board believes this is the fairest option to help the poorest pensioners. It is also the fairest option for all licence fee payers as this means everyone will continue to receive the best programmes and services that the BBC can provide.
Over 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit.
The new scheme will cost the BBC up to £250 million by 2021/22 depending on implementation.
In taking the decision, the Board has been guided by three key principles:
- Fairness - the potential impact on older age groups and the potential impact on all licence fee payers, across all generations.
- Financial impact - the cost of any concession to the BBC, and the possible effect this might have on programmes and services.
- Feasibility - being able to implement any new concession simply and effectively.
The Board’s decision document, updated Equality Impact Assessment and supporting evidence used to inform the BBC Board’s decision are published below, along with those consultation responses which we have been given permission to publish.
If you currently receive a free TV licence, you can read more about what this decision means for you here.
This document describes how the BBC Board has reached its decision, and the factors it has taken into account.
This document gives effect in legal language to how the BBC will implement the policy decision taken by the BBC Board.
Equality Impact Assessment
We are also publishing an updated Equality Impact Assessment which the Board has considered in making its decision.
- Updated Equality Impact Assessment10 June 2019
- Updated Equality Impact Assessment (large print version)10 June 2019
Consultation responses and supporting evidence
On 20 November 2018, the BBC opened a 12 week consultation on TV licences for older people. More than 190,000 people shared their views with us. These views are set out in four reports commissioned by the BBC. We are publishing these reports in full:
- A report from Traverse, analysing responses from around 85,000 members of the public to the BBC’s consultation
- A BBC stakeholder report analysing responses from 115 stakeholders to the BBC’s consultation including surveys such as the one carried out by 38 Degrees which had almost 100,000 responses
- A report from Populus summarising interviews with 115 stakeholders
- A report from Ipsos MORI who conducted additional qualitative research with over 250 members of the public
We received 115 responses from stakeholders. Where permission has been given or responses are already in the public domain, these are published below:
- 38 Degrees
- Advice UK
- Age Cymru
- Age NI
- Age Scotland
- Age Sector Platform
- Age UK
- Alison Thewliss MP
- Alzheimer's Society
- Andrew Bridgen MP
- Audio UK
- Baroness Neville-Rolfe
- Barry Gardiner MP
- British Geriatrics Society
- Campaign to End Loneliness
- Cardiff University School of Journalism
- Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
- Civil Service Pensioners Alliance (Crawley Branch)
- Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland
- Dame Cheryl Gillan MP
- Danny Cohen
- David Drew MP
- Diane Coyle
- Directors UK
- Dundee Older People's Service Network
- Dundee Pensioner's Forum
- Edwin Poots MLA
- Enders Analysis
- Faisal Rashid MP
- Future Years
- Gerald Jones MP
- Giles Watling MP
- Gordon Brown
- Hannah Bardell MP
- Hartswood Films
- Hornsey Pensioners Action Group
- Huw Merriman MP
- Independent Age
- Intergenerational Foundation
- International Broadcasting Trust (IBT)
- James Frith MP
- John Grogan MP
- Kate Hoey MP
- Kevan Jones MP
- Later Life Ambitions
- Liberal Democrats (Baroness Bonham-Carter)
- Lilian Greenwood MP
- Lisa Cameron MP
- Lord Blunkett
- Lord Lipsey
- Lord Mackay of Clashfern
- Lord Marland
- Lord Patel
- Lord Rennard
- Lord Soley
- Mark Menzies MP
- Martyn Day MP
- Media Reform Coalition
- MG Alba
- Money Advice Trust
- NASUWT Retired Members' Association
- National Association of Deafened People (NADP)
- National Pensioners' Convention
- North Ayrshire Council
- NUJ (Welsh Executive)
- Ofcom Advisory Committee for Scotland
- Older People's Commissioner for Wales
- Parkinson's UK
- Patrick Barwise
- Pensions Policy Institute
- Peter Heaton-Jones MP
- Public Service Pensioners' Council
- Richard Hooper
- Robert Beveridge
- Rosie Cooper MP
- Royal Tunbridge Wells & Area Access Group
- Scottish Government
- Scottish Pensioners' Forum
- Screen Scotland
- Sharon Hodgson MP
- Silver Line
- Silver Voices
- Sinn Féin
- Solihull Ratepayers' Association
- Steve McCabe MP
- Steven Barnett
- Sylvia Harvey
- Third Age Trust (U3A)
- United for All Ages
- Voice of the Listener & Viewer
- Wayne Garvie
- Welsh Government
- Writers' Guild of Great Britain
- York Older People's Assembly
Consultation (now closed)
The BBC’s consultation on TV licences for older people was open from 20 November 2018 to 12 February 2019 and is now closed.
- Age-related TV licence policy - Public consultation20 November 2018
- Initial Equality Impact Assessment20 November 2018
Alongside these documents the BBC also published a report prepared by an external economics consultancy, Frontier Economics. This provided some detailed analysis on possible ways to approach the new decision the BBC’s Board had to make. In addition, Frontier Economics published a related discussion paper which discussed the changing landscape since 2000, intergenerational fairness and the changing financial context.