By Oliver Thompson
Over 75s in the United Kingdom are going to have to start paying for their TV licence again.
The annual charge – now set at £154.50 – allows a consumer to view television that receives a live signal broadcast including all BBC television and radio channels.
Then-Chancellor, Gordon Brown scrapped the TV License for older viewers in 1999 to be covered by the UK Government.
In 2015, his successor George Osborne, in the midst of increasing austerity announced that the BBC would have to bear the cost by 2020.
This equates to a bill for the BBC of 745m and one-fifth of its budget.
Rather than making major cutbacks to the BBCs output, the company made the decision only for poorer pensioners to continue to receive a free TV licence.
The broadcaster said funding free TV licenses for all over 75s would have resulted in “unprecedented closures”.
The BBC is facing growing competition on several aspects: the challenge of changing habits of viewers and listeners to keep pace with online international competitors such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.
BBC Chairman Sir David Clementi has said: “It had been a very difficult decision but this was the fairest and best outcome.”
In the latest figures published by the Kirklees Council, there are over 9,000 over 75s in the Kirklees Metropolitan Borough who will consequently be affected by the BBC’s decision to end the free TV Licence.