The BBC is to ask over-75s, who currently receive a free TV licence, to consider paying the £145.50 fee on a voluntary basis.
Earlier this week the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale MP, outlined his vision for the future funding of the BBC. As mentioned in our previous post, the Government has decided that it will soon be the BBC's responsibility to foot the £650m annual bill for providing "free" TV licences to every household with an occupant aged 75 or older.
Mr Whittingdale also announced a number of compromises designed to appease the BBC over this additional expenditure, including the unexpected news that the TV licence fee will increase in line with the CPI rate of inflation.
James Heath, BBC Director of Policy, said in a blog post: "We will give those eligible households an opportunity to voluntarily pay for a TV licence and so make a contribution to the cost of the BBC’s services."
The TV Licensing Blog considers that the BBC is being over-optimistic in its view that over-75s will volunteer to pay a fee they aren't legally obliged to.
In our own experience we have several over-75 friends and family members who are more than capable of paying the TV licence (and public transport, prescriptions, winter fuel allowance et al), but see it as their right after "years of paying into the system" to receive such benefits.
It will be interesting to see what the uptake is like if this plan does come to fruition.