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 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.”