Fury as millions of over-75s to lose free TV licence as perk is axed by BBC

Fury as millions of over-75s to lose free TV licence as perk is axed by BBC

MILLIONS of pensioners who previously received a free TV licence fee will have to pay for it from next year, with charities fearing it will push the poorest into poverty.
The BBC is facing backlash over plans to scrap free licences for over-75s –  hitting the pockets of 3.7million pensioners.
4 The BBC has scrapped free licences for over-75s unless they receive pension creditCredit: PA:Press Association
Although, households with at least one person receiving pension credit – around 900,000 currently – will not have to pay.
At present a TV licence costs £154.50 for a colour TV and £52 for a black and white one.
Those who are blind or severely sight-impaired are eligible to a 50 per cent discount.
Pensioners will have to pay for a licence from June 2020, unless they qualify for pension credit.
Charity AgeUK slammed the move, with charity director Caroline Abrahams saying: “We are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up.”
She added: “The BBC’s decision will cause those affected enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too.”
The move has also angered viewers who are concerned it will isolate elderly people who can’t afford to pay the fee.
One Twitter user said: “This is a lifeline out of isolation for many elderly people, who can ill afford a licence fee.
“Their real choice will be a TV licence or food. This is an ill informed decision, with disproportionate effects.”
Another added: “I find it incredibly hard to believe that we can’t afford to give pensioners, who have paid tax their whole lives, a free licence.
“Many won’t pay it, and will face isolation.”
Around 900,000 households currently claim pension credit, which is a non-taxable top up for pensioners based on a person’s income.
The number of households eligible to claim the benefit is set to rise to 1.5million by 2020.
In April, the government hiked the cost of a licence by £4 – and viewers face two more years of rises. 
Almost 3.5million Brits cancelled their TV licence fee between 2014 and 2018 — a rate of almost one million a year.
The figures showed that many are snubbing the BBC in favour of streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and NowTV.
How to watch TV legally without paying for a licenceIN the UK, any household watching or recording live television must hold a TV licence.In recent years, this has been extended to include BBC programmes on iPlayer, whether they are live, catch up or on demand. But does everyone really need a licence? Here’s the lowdown on how to avoid paying – legally.
On demand TV – like catch-up TV and on demand previews – which are available through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV
On demand movies – from services like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video
Recorded films and programmes – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet
YouTube – On demand video clips through services like YouTube

BBC chairman David Clementi said it had been a “very difficult decision”.
He said: “We think its fair to those over 75 but also to all our audiences for whom there was no appetite for the level of cuts that would have been necessary if the concession had been extended.
“There are people for whom this will be unwelcome news, who have not paid until now but will do so.”
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Telly fans used to be able to watch their favourite shows on BBC iPlayer for free but since 2016 the Government closed the loophole.
Now, you have to pay the annual fee if you’re watching live TV or the BBC catch-up service on any device.
The BBC first announced a consultation into ditching the perk back in November 2018. 
Charity Age UK warned that the extra bill could trigger “great worry and distress” to thousands of vulnerable pensioners.
Earlier this year we warned that pensioners and people approaching retirement could lose out on £7,000 pension credit and housing benefit if they didn’t apply by May 15.
Do I need a TV Licence? Watch this video to find out how to get covered

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