Time for a national debate on the BBC’s future

The BBC's plans to end free TV licences for over-75s shows just how out of touch our national broadcaster has become from its viewers. The Government’s protected the free TV licenced for over-75s since 2010 and in the last renewal of the charter gave control over this directly to the BBC in return for an increase to the licence fee.

When millions of elderly Britons have been asked to stay at home during the global COVID-19 crisis, the timing of this announcement could not have been worse.  Frankly, it is a kick in the teeth for millions of over-75s who have had a torrid time in lockdown.

That's why I joined sixty-six other Conservative MPs and wrote to the Director General of the BBC last weekend to express our disappointment and call for the decision to be reversed.

I would also like to hear from you, about you and your families experience of the BBC and its future. I have launched a survey on my website, www.brendanclarkesmith.com/bbc-survey, I want to know what your opinion is of the BBC and what changes/if any you would like to see made.

I would also like to remind those pensioners who also receive Pension Credit, that you will continue to be entitled to a free TV licence under this change.

Pension Credit is one benefit that is under claimed for, to find out if you qualify please use the AGE Concern calculator https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/pension-credit/ or drop me an email on Brendan.ClarkeSmith.MP@Parliament.uk.