A decision has been made by BBC and the Government to delay the end of free TV Licences for over-75s until the 1st August due to the coronavirus and advice that over-70s should be self-isolating for up to 4-months.
In a joint statement the BBC and the Government state:
[We] 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 June 1st.
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.
Recognising the exceptional circumstances, the BBC Board has therefore decided to change the start date of the new policy.
Our current plan is to now bring it into place on August 1st. We will of course keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve.
Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi commented on the matter that:
We are in exceptional circumstances. Now is not the right time. We are fully focussed on delivering our services to the public at this difficult time.
The delay has been commented on positively. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
I am pleased the BBC has worked with us and agreed to delay their licence fee changes for over-75s from coming in and will keep this under review.
It will be welcome news to millions of older people who now don’t need to worry about their TV licence during this challenging period.
It is right that the BBC have recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by the coronavirus outbreak and the need for the whole country to pull together in the national effort.