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What do the TV licence fee changes mean for over-75s?

From June 2020, only over-75s who receive pension credit will be eligible for a free TV licence.

The changes will affect all over-75s who do not receive pension credit (Joe Giddens/PA)
The changes will affect all over-75s who do not receive pension credit (Joe Giddens/PA)

More than three million people aged over 75 will have to pay for their TV licence when a new scheme comes into effect next year.

Here are some questions answered.

– What are the changes?

From June 2020, around 3.7 million households which previously received a free licence will have to pay for one.

At the moment all over-75s receive a free TV licence but from next year, only those households with a member who receives pension credit will be eligible.

Those found to be ineligible for a free licence will have to pay £154.50 a year for a colour television and £52 a year for a black and white television.

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Those found to be ineligible for a free licence will have to pay £154.50 a year for a colour TV (Philip Toscano/PA)

– Who will this affect?

The changes will affect all over-75s who do not receive pension credit.

Even if they previously had a free TV licence, they will have to buy one from June 1 2020.

– Why is this happening?

The Government-funded scheme to provide all households with people over 75 with a free TV licence comes to an end in 2020.

The Government has legislated that it is the BBC’s responsibility to decide on any future scheme and to pay for it.

Following a public consultation, the BBC decided that means-testing pensioners and giving free licences only to those on pension credit is the fairest way.

The BBC said if it had to fund licences for all over-75s, it would have meant unprecedented closures, including the end of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations, as well as other cuts and reductions.

– What happens now?

TV Licensing will be writing to all free over-75 licence holders before May 31 2020 to let them know how they may be affected and what they will need to do.

Face-to-face assistance will be provided for older people through an outreach programme delivered by specially trained customer care field staff and the size of the TV Licensing customer support call centre will also be increased.

TV Licensing will also launch a free telephone information line this month where older customers and their relatives can access recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers by calling 0800 232 1382.

Information and frequently asked questions can also be found on the TV Licensing website, tvl.co.uk/age.

TV Licensing will also be developing a new pay as you go payment scheme especially for customers who will need to pay for their licence from June 2020.

This scheme will let customers spread the cost of their licence in fortnightly or monthly payments to make it easier to pay.

PA

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