A few years ago the Government quietly passed responsibility for “free TV licenses for over 75’s” over to the BBC. It was announced in the Chancellor’s budget statement, but attracted little comment. The Government used to foot the bill of over £750m annually for free TV licences for the elderly. But the BBC now has to start “sharing the cost” and from 2020 take it over in full. Having thought about this for a while, the BBC has woken up to this impending catastrophe. Now it seems the chickens are coming home to roost.
The BBC is feeling the pinch. Its stars are demanding more money. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are just not enough for reading the news or hosting quiz shows. Nor are they anywhere near the going rate for chatting about football or swanning about on Strictly on a Saturday night.
Then there are all the behind-the-camera staff toiling away as producers, assistant producers, editors, assistant editors, sub-editors and assistant sub-editors. And don’t forget sound technicians, lighting technicians, stage managers, and writers and costume designers and set designers and prop purchasers and wardrobe mistresses, and transport managers and logistics aides and outside broadcasters and inside broadcasters. They obviously need more money for the excellent work they do on our behalf.
The BBC are desparately seeking to pay for all these hard working people. So now they are looking at the budget for the years ahead and that promised free TV license is in their sights. Who knows what the next news headlines will be?
It looks like it is Gary Lineker, Claudia Winkleman, Holly Willoughby et al verses the over 75 year olds.