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Free TV licences to end for most over-75s next month

The BBC will go ahead with its plan to end free TV licences for many over-75s, after a delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A rule change meaning that free TV licences for the over-75s will be restricted to those who receive the pension credit benefit was set to come in on 1 June 2020, but in March it was announced that this would be delayed, initially until August.

At the time, the BBC said it would "keep the issue under review", leaving the door open to a further extension, but the BBC board has now confirmed the changes will go ahead as planned from Saturday 1 August.

You can read full details of the rule change in our BBC to end free TV licences for over-75s unless they get pension credit MSE News story. 

Who will pay from August?

When the rule change comes in, free TV licences will only be available for over-75s who receive pension credit.

More than three million households will be asked to start paying the £157.50 annual fee from Saturday 1 August.

TV Licensing will soon be writing directly to those customers over 75 with clear guidance, highlighting that no one will need to take immediate action, or leave their home, to claim a free TV licence, or to pay for one. 

Information about how pension credit recipients can apply for a free licence and the payment options available for those who need to pay will be sent to customers from next month, according to the BBC. No one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by letter from TV Licensing and they will be given plenty of time to set up their new licence.  

About 1.5 million people claim pension credit and of those, the BBC says 450,000 have already applied for a free licence.

What does the BBC say?

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said: "The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe. The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services."

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