130 Vale Road, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1SP - tom.tugendhat.mp@parliament.uk - 01732 441563

policy queries

I receive hundreds of campaign emails a day, and therefore do not have time to reply to each individually. I will regularly post responses to campaign emails that I receive. 

The issues below are topics which I have often received many emails and letters from with regards to third-party campaigns. I will post my thoughts online, so please see my views below. 

 

BBC Licence Fee for Over 75's - June 2019

This is a major decision which the BCC have taken and one which will impact thousands of families in our community. After all, 92% of people use one of their services every week – whether that be visiting the website, watching one of their channels or using the iPlayer.

The purpose of the licence fee more generally is to ensure that the BBC can continue to provide high quality, distinctive content for everyone. The Government has made it clear that it is committed to maintaining the current funding model for the BBC during this charter period, which runs up to 2027. The licence fee system provides the BBC with a sustainable core income paid by households who watch television. Therefore, they have certainty for the next 8 years about the level of commitment which they receive from Government.
The BBC have consequently taken the decision to scrap the licence fee from the over 75’s as a way of maintaining their budget to provide these services. The licence fee in its current form raises £3.8billion, a huge number, so they have to make sure it is spent wisely. The National Audit Office has now become the BBC’s financial auditor to scrutinise their value for money record. Considering the extraordinary salaries that they have paid in the past, there is yet further scrutiny for the corporation about ensuring that this £3.8billion of taxpayers money is spent wisely.

I hope this is useful background and I’m grateful you have been in touch. Though those with the lowest incomes and over 75 still won’t have to pay a licence fee, for many families having to pay for one will be a stretch and could increase loneliness. I am very conscious of this and it is for this reason that I think it is regrettable that the BBC feels that it has had to take this step. I will be interested in the National Audit Office’s findings about whether this increase would see money spent more wisely.

Georgie Welford