‘Do the right thing!’ Theresa May reveals confession BBC made after 2015 TV licence deal

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The BBC announced its decision to axe the concession so as to save cuts of £750 million – or twenty percent of its broadcast budget. It had blamed the decision on the government’s licensing deal brokered in 2015. But Mrs May told the House of Commons this afternoon: “I believe that the BBC actually got a good deal in 2015.

“Indeed, ‘the government’s decision to put the cost of the over-75s on the BBC has been more than matched by the deal coming back for the BBC.’

“Those aren’t my words”, she said. “Those were the words of the director-general of the BBC after the deal in 2015.

“And I think taxpayers now expect the BBC to do the right thing.”

The current director-general of the BBC is Tony Hall, who has occupied the position since 2013.

The news comes as pensioner Maureen Sales appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to make a heartfelt plea for the BBC to perform a “u-turn” on its decision to axe free TV licences for over-75s, claiming it is a source of comfort.

She said she has “nothing” without her TV, in an emotional plea to the BBC.

Maureen Sales explained that TV has become her “life” and “family” after her husband passed away 22 years ago.

The pensioner said: “I lost my husband in an accident 22 years ago on our wedding anniversary, couldn’t have been a worse day at all, if at all. What’s happened to his pension? That’s what I’m asking. All his life he’d worked.”

On how important television is to her life, Ms Sales commented: “Well it is my life, it’s my family. I plan my day by my magazine every week and I sit and ring off everything I want to see and am going to see.

“Without that, I’ve got nothing. I live in the country very much so, very beautiful side of Sussex.”

Remarking on what her friends think of the decision to axe free TV licences for over 75s, she said: “Disgusting really, to put it briefly.”

Piers Morgan clarified Ms Sales is receiving pension credit to cover the costs of her licence fees, but appeared on th show to “fight for those” not receiving pension credit.

He said: “The least this country can do Maureen frankly, you’re here to fight for those who aren’t getting pension credit and the vast majority of the 3.7million pensioners over 75 in this country will not get a free licence.

“They will have to pay and many of them don’t have the means. Do you think the BBC should do a u-turn?”

Ms Sales replied: “I think so, they need to definitely do that.”

The BBC has come under fire after announcing that, from June 2020, the concession will be available only to households where someone receives Pension Credit.

Only around 1.5 million households will be eligible for a free TV licence under the new scheme.

As part of the charter agreement which came into effect in 2017, the BBC would take on the burden of paying for free licences by June 2020.

From that date, following a review by the broadcaster, only households with someone over the age of 75 who receives Pension Credit will be eligible for a free TV licence funded by the BBC.

It is thought that around 3.7 million pensioners will lose out.

The new scheme will cost the BBC around £250 million by 2021/22, depending on the take-up.

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