THE BBC has defended its decision to remove free TV licences for over-75s who are not claiming Pension Credit.

The decision is expected to affect thousands of older people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, who will lose out on the entitlement when the change comes into force in a year’s time. Instead, they will have to fork out £154.50 per year for a licence. 

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The BBC said restricting free licences to over-75s who claim Pension Credit was “the fairest and best outcome,” stating that maintaining free TV licences for all over-75s would have cost £745million – equal to a fifth of its budget.

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The decision comes four years after the UK Government announced the BBC would take over responsibility for providing free licences for over-75s by 2020.

TV Licensing has advised customers they need not take any immediate action as they will be covered by a free licence until May 31, 2020, and will be supported through the changes.

Over the next month, TV Licensing will be writing directly to everyone who currently has a free over-75 licence to let them know about the new scheme and will get in touch with affected customers well ahead of the change next June to explain what to do next.

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TV Licensing will also be providing face-to-face assistance for older people from next year through an outreach programme delivered by specially trained customer care field staff and the size of the customer support call centre will be increased.

Customers needing to pay for their licence from June 2020 will have the chance to spread the cost of their licence in fortnightly or monthly payments.

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