Free TV licences for the over-75s is a 'welfare' issue that should not be the responsibility of the BBC, House of Lords committee says

08:40 (GMT+2) Wed, 06 Nov 2019

The provision of free TV licences for over-75s is a 'welfare policy' that should never have been foisted on to the BBC, peers have said.

A Lords committee has claimed that the broadcaster should not have been asked and should not have agreed to accept responsibility for the benefit.

Peers called for the Government to establish an independent body to oversee the setting of the licence fee. This body would analyse the corporation's role and functions before making a recommendation to the Government.


The provision of free TV licences for over-75s is a 'welfare policy' that should never have been foisted on to the BBC, peers have said (stock image)


The provision of free TV licences for over-75s is a 'welfare policy' that should never have been foisted on to the BBC, peers have said (stock image)  


The House of Lords communications and digital committee said responsibility for over-75s should be 'off the table' in future licence fee negotiations.

The cost of funding free TV licences is being moved from the Government to the corporation next year, after an agreement was made as part of a 2015 deal. This year the BBC announced it was scaling back the benefit, with only over-75s on Pension Credit to receive free licences. This would remove the benefit from 3.7million pensioners.

Boris Johnson slams BBC's decision to charge over 75s for TV license

The report comes not long after the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee called for the free TV licences to be restored for all over-75s.

Members of the Communications and Digital Committee called for a new 'independent' and 'transparent' process for setting the licence fee.

Today's report from peers said: 'We are concerned that the integrity of the licence fee has been undermined by a succession of settlements which were carried out in secret and which have tended to disadvantage the BBC.'

n Peers have said that the Government should make coverage of The Ashes cricket free-to-air in order to dampen national division and boost competition against the likes of Netflix.

By PAUL REVOIR FOR THE DAILY MAIL

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