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Report outlines BBC options for over 75s licences

A report commissioned by the BBC has produced six options for the broadcast as it decides on what to do about over 75s funding.

Since 2000, anyone over the age 75 has been entitled to a free TV licence. But Government changes introduced as part of the BBC's latest Royal Charter will see Government funding for the scheme end, with the cost due to be picked up by the BBC.

The cost of providing free TV licences to over 75s is due to reach £745million per annum by 2021/22, more than the total amount the BBC spends on radio services each year. If left in tact by 2029/30, more than £1billion of the BBC's income would be spent on free TV licences.

As a result, the BBC commissioned Frontier Economics to produce a report to outline any options to make the concession more affordable for the BBC.

The report, released today, suggests six approaches the BBC could consider further, grouped into four categories:

  1. Do not introduce any replacement for the current concession 
  2. Replace the full concession with a 50% concession for all over-75 households 
  3. Increase the age threshold for eligibility - two options:  Variant 1: increase the threshold by two years, from 75 to 77. Variant 2: increase the threshold by five years, from 75 to 80.) 
  4. Means-test eligibility for the concession - two options: Variant 1: link eligibility for the concession to receipt of Pension Credit, and retain the current age threshold of 75. Variant 2: link eligibility for the concession to receipt of Pension Credit, but widen eligibility to include younger Pension Credit recipients (qualifying age for Pension Credit will rise to 66 by October 2020, in line with the State Pension).

A public consultation on the future of the concession, setting out a range of options will be launched in the near future.

A BBC spokesperson said:

“We are grateful to Frontier Economics for their full report. It is clearly the result of careful study and analysis. It will help inform the BBC’s consultation on the future of the over 75s concession once government stops funding it in 2020. There are important issues to consider and we will do nothing without consulting with the public. We will be setting out a range of options in our consultation paper. Everyone who wants to contribute will be able to do so once the consultation is published.”