The BBC postpones plans to scrap free TV licences for over 75s amid coronavirus

The new legislation was due to come into effect on 1st June 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  In this photo illustration, the BBC iPlayer app is displayed on a laptop screen on August 2, 2016 in London, England. The BBC has announced that iPlayer users will have to pay a 145GBP TV licence fee from 1 September.  (Photo Illustration by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The BBC has delayed plans to scrap free TV licences for those aged 75 and over in an effort to support the nation deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

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The new policy would have seen the current Government-funded scheme that grants all households with people over 75 a free TV licence scrapped. Instead, only households where someone over 75 claims Pension Credit would have been entitled to the free TV licence.

These changes were meant to come into effect on 1st June 2020, but the BBC has announced they will now be delayed to 1st August due to the “exceptional circumstances” the country faces amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A joint statement from the BBC and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport explained the reasoning behind the decision: “The BBC and the Government have been discussing the national Coronavirus situation.

“Changes to the TV licence for people aged over 75 had been due to come into effect on 1 June. But during this time we do not want anyone to be worried about any potential change.

“The BBC’s priority over the coming period will be to do everything we can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public in the weeks and months ahead.”

There is no news as yet on whether the TV licence fee increase from £154.50 to £157.50 in April will go ahead as planned.

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Confirmed cases of coronavirus have now reached more than 170,000 worldwide, with over a thousand in the UK alone. The British government is expected to hold a televised press conference every afternoon to update citizens on latest developments and safety measures.