BBC free licence fee 'transition period' for over 75s will end in July

BBC free licence fee ‘transition period’ for over 75s will end next month – with 260,000 pensioners set to receive letters demanding payment

  • Universal right to a free TV licence has ended for the over-75s in Britain 
  • BBC will write to 260,000 pensioners who have not yet made arrangements
  • TV licence currently costs £159 a year, which equates to around 43p per day

Some 260,000 pensioners will receive letters asking them to pay the BBC licence fee next month when the ‘transition period’ ending handouts closes for all over-75s.  

The universal right to a free TV licence has ended for the age group and only those in receipt of pension credit do not have to pay. 

Pensioners were given a grace period to make arrangements because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the BBC has confirmed this will come to an end on July 31.

The cost of a TV licence increased by £1.50 in April, taking it from £157.50 a year to £159. This equates to 43p per day, according to the broadcaster.   

 Some 260,000 pensioners will receive letters asking them to pay the BBC licence fee next month when the ‘transition period’ ending handouts closes for all over-75s

The fee is set by the Government, which announced in 2016 that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 2017.

The BBC said more than 90 per cent of over-75s households have made arrangements for a free or paid licence, or updated it on changes in their circumstances.  

A statement said: ‘As we have now reached a situation where over-75s households are in line with the general population, the extended transition period we put in place due to Covid-19 will end on 31 July 2021.

‘And in line with general policy, anyone who watches or records live TV programmes on any channel, or downloads or watches BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer, must be covered by a valid TV licence.’

 Demonstrators protest outside BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London in protest over the corporation’s decision to means-test the TV licence for older people

The BBC said it will be writing to the 260,000 people who are yet to make arrangements and will include information about the next steps to take and where advice and support are available.

BBC director-general Tim Davie previously signalled that over-75s will not be threatened with legal action over non-payment. 

What is covered in your TV licence fee?

  • BBC iPlayer
  • BBC Sounds
  • Nine national TV channels and regional programming 
  • Ten national radio stations
  • 40 local radio stations
  • Dedicated Nations radio services

The recent fee increase came under fire from furious Brits, with hundreds of people taking to social media to express their anger and some branding it a ‘disgrace’.

Many questioned whether staff at the BBC were paid too much and asked if their wages could be reduced instead of increasing the licence fee. 

One wrote: ‘So the licence fee is going up, ok by only £2, how about you save some more and reduce the wages of some presenters and radio DJs.’

Another said: ‘Defund the BBC immediately. 

‘They are putting up the TV licence again, people are struggling losing their jobs, putting food on the table, paying bills but hey out millionaire presenters need to get paid too. BBC are a disgrace.’ 

In a statement, the BBC confirmed the increase is equivalent to less than 3p a week with the overall cost of a licence equating to just 43p a day. 

It added: ‘Our programmes and services have been at heart of UK life for almost a century and never more so than in such an unprecedented year. 

‘Each week 91 per cent of UK adults come to the BBC, with an average of 5 million people using our services every single minute of the day and night, across TV, radio, and online.’ 

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