Thousands could lose their free TV licence

Thousands of pensioner households in Blackpool could lose their free TV licence after 2020.

The BBC has started a consultation on free licences for the over-75s. Official figures show there are 9,495 households in Blackpool that qualify for a free licence.

The BBC is consulting over plans to stop giving free TV licenese to people over 75

The BBC is consulting over plans to stop giving free TV licenese to people over 75

The scheme is currently funded by the Government but the responsibility shifts to the BBC in 2020.

The broadcaster says that paying for it would take a fifth of its budget and the cuts needed would “fundamentally change the BBC”. A TV licence costs £150.50.

A review commissioned by the BBC says that funding the scheme across the UK would cost £745m by 2021, rising to £1bn in a decade. The cost of a licence for every household over 75 in Blackpool is £1.4m.

Options being considered include a discount, increasing the qualifying age to 80, or restricting free licences to the most needy.

BBC Chairman David Clementi said: “The board does not underestimate the significance of the decision.”