THE SCRAPPING of the BBC TV licence fee for over-75s could be extended beyond August due to the coronavirus.

Plans to charge the annual £157.50 fee from June 1 were already put on hold until August but now the crisis could delay this even further.

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It comes amid fears that the elderly will be told to stay in their homes for up to four months to try and stop them from getting coronavirus.

BBC Director General Tony Hall said this morning: "The board met on Sunday to take that decision, to put the implementation off until August, and the phrase is 'under review'.

"I think on all of this … we must just keep doing what we think is right each day and keep everything under review."

Ministers had said that plans were to try and shield older and more vulnerable from the deadly bug.

Age UK earlier warned the elderly will be “even more reliant” on their TV and radio for entertainment  during this “unprecedented situation” when they will be consigned to their homes, with family and friends unable to visit.

And they will also need to stay informed about developments in the coronavirus outbreak, with many elderly people not online like the rest of the country.

The BBC revealed plans last year to ditch the free licence for over 75s as part of cost cutting measures.


  • The death toll from coronavirus has now reached 104 in the UK with confirmed cases up to 2,226.
  • 20,000 troops are ready to join the fight against coronavirus
  • London could face a lockdown within days with restrictions on movement and shop closures on the cards
  • Last night 40 tube stations across the capital closed with no warning

The BBC and Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier said: "During this time we do not want anyone to be worried about any potential change.

"The BBC’s priority over the coming period will be to do everything we can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time."

And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden welcomed the pause on the plans.

He added: "It is right that the BBC have recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by the Coronavirus outbreak and the need for the whole country to pull together in the national effort."

How you can still watch shows legally WITHOUT a licence

IN the UK, any household watching or recording live television must hold a TV licence.

In recent years, this has been extended to include BBC programmes on iPlayer, whether they are live, catch up or on demand. But does everyone really need a licence? Here’s the lowdown on how to avoid paying – legally.

On demand TV – like catch-up TV and on demand previews – which are available through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV

On demand movies – from services like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video

Recorded films and programmes– either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet

YouTube – On demand video clips through services like YouTube

Ministers are consulting on whether to scrap the licence fee altogether, it was revealed earlier this year.

Ex-Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said the BBC needed to up its game to keep up with modern Britain.

After 2027, the fee could be long gone.

And they are looking at plans to decriminalise not paying the fee, too.


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