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Television Licences (Blind People)

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the estimated number of blind people who receive a discount for their television licence; when the amount was last reviewed; and if he will make it his policy to increase the discount for blind people.[16123]

Approximately 34,400 registered blind people received a reduction in their television licence fee in the year to August 1997. The concessionary scheme, including this reduction, was reviewed within Government in 1985, but that review did not lead to the discount for the blind being increased.The Government have no plans at present to increase the level of the reduction for blind people. However, the current Agreement between the Secretary of State and the BBC provides for a review of the television licence fee as the mechanism for funding the BBC after 2002. We shall conduct such a review before that date, and it will include a detailed consideration of the concessionary arrangements, including those for blind people.