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TV Licences

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the concessionary schemes for television licences. (92579)

The Government have introduced free licences for people aged 75 or over and increased the discount for registered blind people to 50 per cent. of the licence fee, as well as retaining the accommodation for residential care scheme for retired people aged 60 or over and disabled people. We reviewed the concessionary arrangements as part of BBC Charter Review but, for the reasons set out in the White Paper published in March this year, we have no plans for any changes to the existing concessions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the eligibility for a free television licence for the over-75s applies to (a) second homes, (b) those permanently in care homes and (c) those in care homes for a short-term period. (90499)

The BBC, as television licensing authority, is responsible for interpreting the television licensing regulations and for determining licensing requirements in specific circumstances. However, the general position is that free television licences are not available for second addresses, whether permanent or short-term. A person aged 75 or over who is ordinarily resident in a care home that qualifies for the communal Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) concessionary licence does not need a separate television licence and the standard fee of £5 per unit of accommodation is waived for their accommodation. An over-75 living in a care home that does not qualify for the ARC concession would be entitled to their own free television licence.