All UK households who watch or stream live broadcasts are subject to the annual fee which covers all devices owned by residents. Only households with members who are aged over 75 years old on Pension Credit are exempt from the fee. This means an estimated 3.7 million over 75s have to pay.
In addition, over 75s who live in qualifying care homes or sheltered accommodations do not have to pay while those who are registered blind are entitled to a discount.
The BBC receives 74 percent of its income, equivalent to £5.06billion from the licence fee, according to Parliamentary figures. However, this is reportedly 30 percent lower in real terms than it was 10 years ago.
More than a quarter of a million more Britons cancelled their licence fee last year compared to the average rate – reflecting both the cost of living crisis and the availability of subscription streaming services.
Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries froze the licence fee at its current rate for two years. It will increase in line with inflation until 2028 when the BBC’s Charter concludes.
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In a poll from midday on Tuesday, October 18, to midday on Sunday, October 18, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should all pensioners be exempt from paying TV licence fee?”
In total, 1,488 people responded with the overall result being “yes”, winning by a landslide of 96 percent (1,424 people).
Meanwhile, four percent (60 people) said “no” pensioners should not be exempt, and a further four people said they did not know.
Readers debated the future of the TV licence with dozens of comments left below the accompanying article.
Some readers argued that pensioners are deserving of free TV licences, with username Peniel13 commenting: “Of course, all pensioners should receive free licences.”
They continued: “Shame on a government that cares so little for the over 65s and denies them the simple pleasure of watching the box.”
And username Jed Hawkins said: “A lot of pensioners (65-year-olds) still work so can afford the fee but at 80 they don’t so they should get it free.”
In an interview with the Radio Times published this week, BBC News anchor Huw Edwards defended the need for the TV licence fee, saying: “I think it would be a mistake if at any point it [the BBC] takes audiences and the licence fee for granted, especially now that younger people have different consumption patterns. It has a bigger job than ever before to justify its place and funding.”
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Meanwhile, many readers thought the TV licence should be scrapped for everyone in the UK.
Username PhilCo58 said: “Not just pensioners, all viewers should be exempt. Get rid of this archaic tax, put them [the BBC] on a commercial footing like other channels.”
Username NorthernGeezer wrote: “EVERYONE should be exempt from paying the licence fee! In this day and age, the BBC MUST find another way to raise its money!”
And username Taxed to Death said: “Everyone should be exempt. A new funding system is needed.”