THE BBC is to scrap free TV licences for the over-75 from August 1.

Moves to end the free universal scheme was put on hold following the coronavirus pandemic.

But now the corporation will press ahead with its controversial plans and only pensioners on pension credit will be entitled to a free TV licence.

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said: "The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe. The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.

"Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied. And critically it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure."

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Julian Knight said: "At what is already a very difficult time, this will be a body blow to millions of British pensioners.

"I had hoped that the previous delay announced would lead to the Government and BBC coming together in order to thrash out a fresh deal. However, that has clearly not happened."

He added: "This mess is a result of a poor decision struck by the outgoing Director-General and now Britain's pensioners are having to pick up the cost.

"The BBC wants people to be reassured that they can use an online 'Covid-safe' payment system to buy their licence. This takes little account of those over 75 not online."

Boris Johnson believes the BBC has made the "wrong decision" on scrapping free TV licences for the over-75s.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "This is the wrong decision. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC."