Northern Ireland

TV licence: Protest at BBC for over-75s decision

TV licence protesters outside the BBC in Belfast Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The BBC announced earlier this month free TV licences for up to 3.7m pensioners will be scrapped

Protesters have gathered outside the BBC to protest against plans to axe free TV licences for the over-75s.

Several dozen people picketed the BBC's offices in Belfast and Londonderry calling for the decision to be reversed.

From next June, only low-income households where one person receives pension credit will still be eligible for a free licence.

Protests have been staged across the UK since the decision was announced.

The BBC has said the move aims to protect programming, while dealing with the extra funding burden sparked by the government passing the cost of funding free licences onto the BBC as part of an updated charter agreement.

Image caption Protests at the BBC's offices in Derry and Belfast were part of a UK-wide campaign

In 2015, the government announced the BBC would take over the cost of providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the fee settlement.

The move would have cost £745m, a fifth of the BBC's budget, by 2021/22.

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