DCMS Select Committee Report on funding of free television licences VLV Response

Responding to the report, Voice of the Listener & Viewer Chairman, Colin Browne, said

‘The VLV believes that it was wrong in principle for the BBC to have been made responsible for funding the licence fee concession for the over 75s as part of a behind closed doors negotiation in 2015.

We strongly welcome the Report’s conclusion that future licence fee negotiations are conducted in a wholly different way. The VLV has long argued for a more open and transparent process and has proposed the establishment of an independent statutory commission, which would consult widely before making recommendations on funding.

The VLV’s clear view has been that the cost of providing free licences for the over 75’s, and the policy behind the concession, should be matters for government and that the BBC should not fund this concession. We therefore welcome the Committee’s conclusion that the Government should set out proposals for how it can support this concession in the future.

We believe that it is wrong in principle for the BBC to be determining the policy, and bearing the cost, of what is essentially a welfare benefit.’