Dan Wootton slams BBC licence fee as a 'stain' on our country
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In the UK, a television licence is a requirement for any home that watches or streams content as it is being broadcast live. As well as being a necessity to watch BBC channels, it is also needed to use streaming services such as BBC iPlayer. While the public broadcaster is responsible for managing the fee, the Government is charged with setting any discounts.
One of the most notable concessions is the 50 percent discount for those who are registered as legally blind.
This half-off deal also applies to people who live with a blind person as part of the same household.
Currently, the licence fee for a coloured television costs £159 and will remain frozen at this price for the foreseeable future.
Taking this into account, the price of a blind TV licence would come to £79.50 for a household using a coloured television.
It should be noted that families have the option to pay for a coloured or black-and-white TV, which has a licence fee of £53.50.
Many blind people in the UK may opt for the latter which means their licence fee would cost £26.75.
According to the NHS, two million people across the country are dealing with some form of sight loss.
Of this group, around 360,000 people are registered as legally blind which is the qualifying criteria for the TV licence discount.
To get this support, applicants will need to prove to the TV Licensing body that they are legally blind.
Included in the considered qualifying documentation to prove this is either a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) or a BD8 Certificate.
Furthermore, a letter from an eye surgeon confirming someone’s blindness and a certificate from a Local Authority would also count as proof to the assessor.
Anyone who is registered as only partially sighted or visually impaired will be eligible for the 50 percent discount on their television licence.
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Who is eligible for a free TV licence?
Outside of this concession, some groups in the UK are entitled to a free television licence due to their circumstances.
As it stands, over 75s who are in receipt of a certain benefit payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can get this support.
However, free TV licences used to be more readily available than they currently are.
In 2022, the BBC stopped providing the freebie benefit to all over 75s but continued to hand out the support to those on Pension Credit, which is a benefit for pensioners on low income.
This has been criticised by the Government which has recently made it easier for pensioners to apply for this concession through new reforms.
Guy Opperman, the former minister for Pensions, outlined why the Government wants to extend the eligibility of free television licences to more people.
Mr Opperman explained: “We want everyone to claim the benefits to which they are entitled, including Pension Credit which acts as a gateway for other benefits such as the free TV licence.
“This change will help reduce the administrative burden on over-75s and put their minds at ease.”
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