The BBC has announced that changes to the license fees for over-75s will not now come into effect from 1 June. Due to the Coronavirus, the change has been postponed until at least 1 August.
Free licenses were due to be scrapped for 3.7 million people, with free licenses only being given to low-income households where one person receives pension credit.
These are “exceptional circumstances” and “now is not the right time”, BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said.
The BBC and the government issued a joint statement saying they “do not want anyone to be worried about any potential change” at the current time. “The BBC’s priority over the coming period will be to do everything we can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time… As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public in the weeks and months ahead. Recognising the exceptional circumstances, the BBC board has therefore decided to change the start date of the new policy. Our current plan is to now bring it into place on 1 August. We will of course keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve.”
There is a comprehensive article on the BBC website about the change, which also points out that a delay of 8 weeks may not be enough, and some people aged over 75 will have already received letters telling them to take their Pension Credit letters to be photocopied at a local shop.