Means testing of TV licences to begin: What you need to know

The universal, free TV licence for pensioners is coming to an end.

The means-testing scheme for over 75s begins on August 1.

Here is what you need to know about paying or claiming your free licence.

I’ve not paid the TV licence before, how much is it?

A TV Licence costs £157.50 (£53 for black and white TV sets) for a year.

Do I need to act now?

TV Licensing said it will write directly to over-75s customers with guidance “highlighting that no-one will need to take immediate action”.

No-one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by letter from TV Licensing, it says.

People “will be given plenty of time to set up their new licence”, they say.

Will I need to leave my home to sort out my free TV licence or pay for one?

TV Licensing says that no-one will need to leave their home, to claim a free TV Licence or to pay for one.

How do I start paying for my TV licence?

Information on payment options will be sent next month.

They will include the launch of the 75+ Plan, that will allow over 75s switching from a free licence to a licence they pay for, to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.

How else do you pay?

People will have the option to able to pay in one go by cheque, debit/credit card or annual direct debit, set up a monthly direct debit or pay through the 75+ Plan which allows them to make smaller more regular payments including weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

What if I am not online?

Customers who would prefer not to pay online will have the option to use a different method including mailing a cheque, paying by card on the phone or by cash/card at their nearest PayPoint.

How do I claim a free TV licence?

Pensioners must be in receipt of Pension Credit to apply for a free licence.

Information on how to claim will be sent to customers from next month.

TV Licensing says it is operating a “self-verification system” for people to “simply” demonstrate that they receive Pension Credit.

Pension Credit can be in the name of the licence holder, or in their partner’s name if they are a couple and TV Licensing say it is writing to all over 75s to explain how they can demonstrate they receive the benefit.

It says 450,000 have already applied for a free licence under this scheme.

How many people will be eligible for a free TV licence?

The BBC says round 1.5 million households with residents aged over 75 will be eligible for a free TV Licence funded by the BBC if they receive Pension Credit.

What if I need extra support?

TV Licensing says it has increased the size of its customer call centre and launched a free telephone information line with recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers (0800 232 1382).

Information and frequently asked questions can also be found on the TV Licensing website,

TV Licensing says it worked with the Alzheimer’s Society and other groups working with older people to ensure that needs of vulnerable older people have been taken into consideration.

Almost nine out of 10 inbound tourism firms to cut jobs – survey

Nearly nine out of 10 companies involved in the UK’s inbound tourism industry expect to make job cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey suggests.

The research was conducted by trade association UKinbound, which called for more Government support to avoid “the collapse of previously successful businesses”.

It polled 59 tour operators and firms providing services such as transfers, hotel bookings and excursions.

Some 88% of respondents anticipate making between 25% and 100% of their staff redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 53% expect their businesses to last no more than six months.

Three out of five (60%) plan to cut jobs next month when employers must resume paying National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed staff.

UKinbound chief executive Joss Croft said: “Those tourism businesses that rely wholly on international visitors for their livelihoods are on their knees.

“The risk of widespread redundancies and the collapse of previously successful businesses is a very real threat without further Government support.

“Our inbound tourism industry is a vital part of the UK economy and we simply cannot recover or level up our economy without the value that international tourism brings to all regions of the UK.”

International visitors to the UK spent £28.4 billion last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Stephen Broughton, owner of Mountain Goat Tours – which runs tours in northern England and North Wales for domestic and international tourists, said: “We are already over half-way through the tourism season and many people will be reluctant to travel overseas for some time.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to increase our share of domestic visitors this year, but social-distancing requirements on transport is also making this side of the business unviable.

“An extension of the job retention scheme until the tourism season starts again next March would be fantastic and would make all the difference to the survival of our business.

“Our most valuable asset is our staff and we are in an area where tourism is the main source of employment. We need to do everything we can to maintain a livelihood for them.”