BBC Warns of Content Apocalypse if Over-75 Licence Fee Freebie Continues

By Gary Cutlack on at

The BBC is asking us, the people, what to do about the future of the subsidised free TV Licence for the over-75s, as the method of paying for it is finally about to be changed so that the BBC picks up the bill for the freebie – that has been previously met by the government – from 2020.

This comes at a staggering cost of £745m, a huge chunk of the corporation's entire budget were the status quo to be maintained and the loss taken on by the BBC. The newly launched consultation comes with economic explainers about the huge impact this'll have on budgets from a variety of sources, but the most damning statistic for the future of the corporation says that the drop in finances – were the BBC to fund the £745m entirely by itself – equates to roughly the same amount of money it spends on producing all of its TV content on channels from BBC Two to CBeebies.

The consultation warns that: "In order to meet this cost, the BBC would have to make savings, close current services and reduce output substantially. Whichever services were closed, this would be a big reduction in the BBC’s output. It would make the BBC much poorer value for money, as it would be providing fewer services for the same amount of money per paying household."

Basically it means they might again start to think about binning off BBC Four again, which would be a disaster as then where else are we going to watch The Sleigh Ride thing for two hours each Christmas? The Sleigh Ride is all we have to be excited about.

Plus there's also the fact that a significant proportion of old people nowadays, with their houses and shit conservatories, their pensions and cruise holidays, have more disposable income than the young people and their zero-hour jobs and enormous rents, so... where is the fairness in continuing to let the wealthier older folk get angry about the constant talking of DJs for free?

Means-testing seems to be the sensible way forward, as the BBC is pushing three options for the future of any Licence Fee subsidy – leaving the concession the same and chopping output to fund it, throwing it away altogether, or reforming the Licence Fee to include an element of consideration of the "financial need" of each household. [BBC via Guardian]