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BBC boss not ruling out further delay to end of free TV licence for over-75s

The universal benefit was due to end on June 1.

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The broadcaster has postponed the axing of the universal benefit by two months (Ian West/PA)

The broadcaster has postponed the axing of the universal benefit by two months (Ian West/PA)

The broadcaster has postponed the axing of the universal benefit by two months (Ian West/PA)

BBC director-general Lord Hall has not ruled out a further delay to the end of the free TV licence for over-75s.

The broadcaster postponed the axing of the universal benefit by two months, saying the “BBC has a vital role to play” in this “uniquely challenging time”.

It is now due to end on August 1 instead of June 1.

Asked whether the introduction of means-testing could be pushed back further if the coronavirus crisis is not over by August, Lord Hall told Radio 4’s Today programme that “the phrase is ‘under review’”.

He added: “I think on all of this … we must just keep doing what we think is right each day and keep everything under review.”

His comments come as filming of EastEnders and top BBC dramas were halted amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The broadcaster unveiled plans for exercise routines for older people, education for young people and “virtual church services”.

Health Check UK Live, on BBC One daytime, will “directly address the concerns of viewers who are in isolation, offering tips on how to keep healthy and happy at home”.

The One Show will be “a consumer programme show for all aspects of the crisis,” including “health and wellbeing advice, keeping fit and healthy eating tips”.

Lord Hall told Today: “We have been making proper decisions to focus on what is our core mission, what we are paid to do for the British public.

“We all need to pull together. We need to use all our available resources to inform, educate and entertain.”

He said: “What we are working through every single day is how we can maintain and sustain those services on behalf of the British public, at a time of unprecedented issues that we are all facing…

“Our other role in all this is to keep the nation entertained, so there will be more box sets.”

PA