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End of free TV licences for all over-75s

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Millions of pensioners who qualify for a free TV licence will have to pay for it from next year.

The BBC said it is scrapping free TV licences for all over 75s – a scheme which is funded by the government – from June 2020.

Only people over 75 who receive pension credit will be eligible for a free licence.

The BBC Board said the move, which will affect more than three million people, was “the fairest” option to help the poorest pensioners.

It follows a consultation with 190,000 people in which 52 per cent of respondents called for free licenses to be reformed or scrapped.

BBC Chairman Sir David Clementi said: “Ultimately, the Board did not think it right to abolish all free TV licences. While research suggests pensioners are now better off than they were when the concession was first introduced nearly 20 years ago, the simple fact is that many are still in poverty – and many want the companionship the BBC can provide.”

What you need to know

If you have a free over 75 licence and receive pension credit, you don’t have to do anything. You will continue to be eligible for a free licence.

If you currently have a free over 75 licence and do not qualify for pension credit, you don’t have to do anything for now. You will stay licenced until 31 May 2020. You will then have to pay for your licence.

If you have a free over 75 licence and don’t receive pension credit, but you live with someone who does and is 75 or over, you don’t have to do anything yet. But before 31 May 2020, you can transfer the licence to the name of the person in your household who receives pension credit, and apply for a free license.

You can find out if you’re eligible for pension credit by visiting or by calling 0800 99 1234.

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