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We already heard the government was planning on forcing the BBC to fund TV licences for the over-75s. Now it seems the Beeb has agreed, and into the bargain, it could stop non-licence fee payers from watching iPlayer.

At the moment, you only need a TV licence if you're watching live TV. You're free to watch on iPlayer without spending a penny. But according to BBC director-general Tony Hall, that could soon change.

"We have secured the right deal for the BBC in difficult economic circumstances for the country," he said in a statement. "This agreement secures the long-term funding for a strong BBC over the next Charter period. It means a commitment to increase the licence fee in line with inflation, subject to Charter Review, the end of the iPlayer loophole and the end of the broadband ringfence.

"In the circumstances, the BBC has agreed take on the costs for free licence fees for over-75s, and after the next parliament, will take on the policy."

The BBC will have to pay £65m a year to cover TV licences for the over-75s. With an ageing population, that amount is likely to go up in future.

The over-75 proposal will be phased in from 2018/19. The BBC will cover the full costs by 2020/21.

However, the BBC Trust is up in arms over the way the government has handled it. Rona Fairhead, chairman of the Trust, said that the decision is a legitimate one, but criticised how the plan was presented to the public.

"We accept this decision is a legitimate one for the government to take, although we cannot endorse the process by which it has been reached," Fairhead wrote in a letter to chancellor George Osborne and culture secretary John Whittingdale.

"Clearly, beyond the current charter period it is for the government to determine both its policy on the over-75s concession and how that is funded. We could not, ultimately, obstruct any decision that you made.

"We are disappointed that [the public] have not been given any say in the major decisions about the BBC's future funding.

"However, we accept that those decisions now set a clear financial framework, subject to the terms set out in your letter, for a charter review process that will focus on what the BBC provides in return for its funding."

Source: Department of Culture, Media and Sport, BBC Trust (Twitter)

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