Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

BBC Boris Johnson news: PM savages BBC broadcaster for free tv licence removal | UK | News

The Prime Minister hit out at the broadcaster’s plans to restrict the benefit to just the poorest pensioners. He spoke to reporters on the subject during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. Mr Johnson said: “The BBC received a settlement that was conditional upon their paying for TV licences for the over-75s.

“They should cough up.”

The Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto pledged to protect free licenses for the elderly.

The benefit will now only apply to those on pension credit from June 2020.

The BBC claimed it could not afford to take on the financial burden from the Government.

Around 3.7million pensioners will be stripped of their free TV license when the changes take effect.

The free TV license was introduced in 2000, but the BBC agreed to take on the cost as part of the charter agreement in 2015.

Those found to be ineligible for a free licence will have to pay £154.50 a year for a colour television.

A licence for a black and white television will cost less at £52 a year.

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She argued it was a matter for the Government if it wished to restore funding for free licences.

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said: “The Prime Minister’s disregard for older people is appalling.

“He is trying to blame the BBC for his own Government’s policy, but this obfuscation will not work.”

Mr Watson argued the blame for scrapping free TV licences lies firmly with the Government.

He added: “Keeping the free licences was a Tory manifesto promise, but because of this Government’s refusal to fund the concession, millions of older people will have their free TV licences scrapped next year.

“This Government must stop passing the buck and step in to fund the free TV licences today.”

A Downing Street source said: “The Government agreed the licence fee settlement with the BBC in 2015.

“At the time, the director general said it was a ‘strong deal for the BBC’ and provided ‘financial stability’.”

They added: “It saw BBC income boosted by requiring iPlayer users to have a licence, and unfroze the licence fee for the first time since 2010 – with it rising each year with inflation.

“In return, we agreed responsibility for the over-75 concession would transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

“The BBC must honour this agreement.”

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