A former director general at the BBC has backed proposals to scrap free TV licences to over 75s, branding the waiving of the fees “ridiculous”.
As it stands, any household with a person over 75 is exempt from paying the annual bill of £150.50 for the broadcaster’s products. But this scheme, which costs £745million a year, is due to finish in June 2020.
Greg Dyke was the BBC’s most senior journalist when Gordon Brown as Labour Chancellor introduced the free TV licences in 2001.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme the BBC’s governors should now take the “difficult decision” to change the whole system.
He said: “I think the idea that they’re going to give the baby boomers, when they reach 75, a free licence is ridiculous.”
Mr Dyke, who later went on to serve as the Football Association’s chairman from 2013 to 2016, also said the decision should be made by an independent panel, and not those with a vested interest in the BBC.
He told Today: “Personally, I think the governors should take the unpopular but tough decision to restrict any subsidy to any over-75s apart from the very poorest.
“In a world when the poorest aren’t necessarily the oldest, I don’t see any justification to continue to the whole system.