The BBC has today, (10th June 2019), announced that from June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to persons aged over 75 and who receives Pension Credit. This is expected to impact some 3.5 million households, who previously received a free TV licence.
It is estimated that some 1.5 million households will benefit from the new scheme, at a cost of some £250 million pounds. Over the course of the next month, TV Licensing will be writing to everyone who currently has a free over-75 licence to let them know about the new scheme and make clear that they will remain fully covered until 31 May 2020 and to confirm that no changes will take place until this date.
Free licences were first given to the over-75s as part of a government programme to reduce pensioner poverty. 15 years later that government funding was cut and ever since then the BBC has had to foot the bill for the free licence scheme, however the issue seems to be that there are more and more pensioners nowadays, due to people living longer and therefore the ratio of, what tends to be heavier users of TV services by the pensioner aged viewer, is becoming larger than the fee paying younger households and this is causing financial issues to the BBC.
There are many that say, just a week after the major D-Day commemorative events that took place in the UK and Europe, praising and thanking the older generation for everything they did and sacrificed, that this comes as a kick in the teeth to potentially the same people, by cutting funding for those people, who in many cases, look to the TV as a companion and may well not be in a financial position to afford to pay for the licence going forward....
That said, there are actually many people who may very well not need a TV licence at all!
If you're watching live TV on a television, computer, tablet, games console, smartphone or any other device, you'll need to pay the fee but if you only watch catch up TV, (Not including BBC I Player, you will still need a licence for this), or on demand TV services, you do not need a TV licence at all! This doesn't mean if you record live tv and then play it back, it's ok... it isn't, you will still need a TV licence for that, but if you do just watch programming through on demand services such as 4 On Demand, ITV Hub, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube etc then you are exempt from paying for a licence.
You need to let TV Licensing service know if you aren't watching live TV and they can cancel your licence, you will need to cancel any direct debits etc. It is quite possible that a TV Licence representative may well call to ensure that you are indeed not watching TV, so if you are watching live TV, you may end up with a £1,000 fine and be prosecuted, so it's not something recommended to be claiming not to be watching live TV when you are!
So there are ways around the costs of watching TV, something that may well be useful to those households who will be affected by this change in BBC policy and hopefully this will be useful information to know, assuming no other changes are made to this policy before June 2020...