BBC asks over 75s to voluntarily offer up the licence fee to tackle deficit

The BBC has announced it will ask over 75s to continue contributing to the licence fee despite chancellor George Osborne freeing the elderly from the levy.

Although they are no longer legally required to pay the tax, the BBC will request over 75s continue to pay the TV licence fee.

From the 2020/2021, the BBC will find an estimated £725m hole in its coffers - around 10 per cent of budget - as a result of the move.

James Heath, the BBC’s director of policy, said: “We will give those eligible households an opportunity to voluntarily pay for a TV licence and so make a contribution to the cost of the BBC’s services.”

As part of the agreement, Osborne granted the corporation new powers to modernise the license fee to take into account on-demand viewers – which Heath estimated could raise a total of 100m a year.

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