Row over BBC's TV licence fees

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) wants to abolish the TV licence fees exemption of over-75s to compensate for financial losses. It says the only alternative would be cutbacks in its programme. Should public broadcasters receive support to help them hold their own against pay TV broadcasters, or are they just a relic of the past?

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The Observer (GB) /

BBC must remain competitive

If the government continues to force the BBC to exempt seniors from broadcasting fees the state should make up for the lost revenues, The Observer argues:

“The greater truth is that it is being asked to find savings that represent a rounding error in Britain's £700bn a year of public spending for no other reason than the enemy within want to shrink it still further out of ideological conviction. It is already a quarter smaller in real terms than it was in 2010, besieged by behemoths like Netflix, Liberty Global and Fox, none of which cares a fig for British over-75s. … If we want to make the societal choice that the over-75s get their licence fee free, then society should pay for it.”

The Sun (GB) /

An end to mandatory fees

The days of fee-financed broadcasters are long gone, writes The Sun:

“The BBC only gets away with raking in a total of £4billion a year in licence fees because of the generations who grew up when the BBC was the only show in town. ...The BBC was extremely foolish to show older ­viewers such wanton ­disrespect. Because now some painfully difficult questions are being asked of the broadcaster. ... Why does ANYONE need to pay the licence fee in a world of Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Sky, BT and the infinite diversions of the internet? Is there ANY place for a compulsory TV tax? Yes - the last century!”