Bectu welcomes BBC announcements on TV licence and programming

19 March 2020

As the largest trade union in the BBC, we welcome recent announcements regarding scheduling and TV licences from the corporation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

We have long been arguing that TV licences for the over 75s should be funded by the government. However, over 75s who are not entitled to pension credit were due to start paying for the licence fee in June but that has now been pushed back until August due to the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, the BBC has announced that more of its programmes will focus on the coronavirus outbreak and that it will offer more about education, fitness, religion and recipes for those stuck at home.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“The BBC is demonstrating itself to be the world-class public service broadcaster it was designed to be. We know that audiences and the creative industries will welcome the changes it has made to its schedule, including stepping up to provide more educational content, and its approach of collaboratively working with organisations such as Arts Council England.

“The broadcasting, film and TV production community are going through enormously stressful changes at the moment and will be looking to the BBC for reassurance that there is a way for the industry to continue.

“Our members are working hard to keep the nation informed, educated and entertained and must be defined as part of the government’s list of key workers.

“It is right that the BBC have delayed introducing the changes to the over-75s licence fee required of them by the government, but this decision is costing them hundreds of millions at a crucial time for the nation and this cost must be covered by government to allow the BBC to focus on doing its vital work.

“Ultimately, once this crisis is over, the government must take back responsibility for this benefit and drop the agenda of decriminalising enforcement of the licence fee.”

More information

See our advice on coronavirus (Covid-19)

Find out more about the BBC’s scheduling plans during the coronavirus outbreak

Find out more about changes to over 75s TV licences

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