Belfast Telegraph

Christopher Biggins shares anger at BBC decision on TV licences for over-75s

The star said it is wrong to means-test the elderly.

Christopher Biggins (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Christopher Biggins (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Christopher Biggins has spoken of his anger at the BBC’s decision not to continue with free TV licences for all over-75s.

The TV star said it is “wrong” to means-test older people after the corporation announced that, from June 2020, the concession will only be available to households where someone receives Pension Credit.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I would certainly be happy to pay a little bit more (to continue with free licences).

“What is so interesting is they seem to be having a go at old, older people and I think that is wrong.

“They raise huge amounts of money for Children In Need; why don’t we do Pensioners in Need? Why don’t we raise some money for them, because they need the money more than anybody?”

He added: “The means-testing thing really angers me. Why should these people be subjected to telling us what they have? I think it’s all wrong.

“My mother died last year, 93 years old; her lifeline was the television in her room, which was on 24 hours … it was very important.”

The BBC was set to take on the financial burden of providing free licences for over-75s from the Government in 2020 and Stanley Johnson, the father of Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson, said the responsibility should be passed back.

bpanews_e84a62fd-ea88-4d5c-b4ea-a27ddd1d0e8b_embedded239407362
Stanley Johnson (Steve Parsons/PA)

He said: “This is an aspect of social policy and the Government ought to take this one on board, no reason to load it off on to the BBC.

“That was a mistake, I think it’s time to say it’s time to renegotiate this.”

He continued: “You have to realise the sheer democratic weight of the elderly, I’m well over 75, I’m part of a hugely expanding demographic and you can’t actually afford to give everybody free things, whether it’s winter fuel allowance, BBC licence fees, bus passes, because you can’t afford it.

“You have to have some system of means-testing. Of course means-testing is difficult, I quite understand.”

The BBC has said that restricting free licences to only over-75s on Pension Credit is the fairest option.

Press Association

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph