The Tories have been slammed over their handling of the 2015 negotiations with the BBC that ultimately led to the abolition of universal free TV licences for over-75s.
A new report published today by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee accuses the government of seeking to “bounce” the BBC into accepting a deal that exposed it to “administering welfare benefits”.
It says the BBC has found itself in the ridiculous position of being the administrator of welfare benefits that should “only ever be implemented by the Government”.
However, the report also says that the BBC cannot be absolved of responsibility for their part in the “flawed” negotiations, and highlights the lack of transparency at senior levels of the corporation.
In particular, BBC Director-General Tony Hall is singled out for his poor handling of the negotiations, particularly in failing to seek the formal agreement of the Executive Board before recommending the deal to the BBC Trust.
The report concludes that the 2015 negotiations were “flawed” on both sides and criticises the decision to hold the meetings “behind closed doors”. It also highlights that licence fee payers were not given the opportunity of a consultation.
The cross-party group of MPs calls on the government and BBC to work together to find a way of restoring free TV licenses for all over 75s who don’t receive pension credit.
Source: MPs call for the restoration of free tv licences for all over-75’s : Welfare Weekly