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Monday, August 26, 2019

PM tries to pass buck for TV licence betrayal

Despite the attempt to put some distance between his premiership and that of Theresa May, Boris Johnson is till relying on the same playbook.

Back in 2017 the Tories fought the General Election on a promise of maintaining pensioner benefits, “including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this parliament”.

Unfortunately, this was a pledge they felt unable to keep and as of June this year responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over-75s, which costs an estimated £750m a year, is being handed over to the BBC.

It goes without saying that the money was not handed over at the same time, leaving the corporation with the choice of maintaining the benefit or closing BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, the BBC Scotland channel, Radio 5 Live, and several local radio stations.

Research from the House of Commons library found that 3 million households would lose their free TV licences as a result of the compromise the BBC has found in order to accommodate this obligation. The BBC has said it will continue to provide licences to over-75s who can provide evidence that they claim pension credit, a means-tested benefit designed to help older people.

Now, as the Guardian reports, Johnson has reignited the row over who should fund free TV licences for the over-75s, urging the BBC to “cough up”. Theresa May repeatedly urged the BBC to continue funding the benefit but the broadcaster announced in June that most over-75s would have to pay for a licence, with only the poorest protected.

As with May, Johnson is trying to blame the BBC for his own government’s policy. Wouldn't it be better if he were more honest and accept the blame for this U-turn and his refusal to reverse it?
He will not pay the money to the BBC, he needs it for upcoming Brexit troubles.
Remember their is an election coming up and he will need all the votes he can.
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