The Times headline Do us a favour and buy a TV licence, BBC urges the over-75s pithily summarises a point made by a senior BBC editor on the BBC blog.
This is what James Heath, the BBC's director of policy writes:
Let’s first look at the cost part of the equation. The cost of over 75s TV licences will be transferred to the BBC on a phased basis, starting in 2018/19 with the full liability met by the BBC from 2020/21. We estimate this will reduce the BBC’s licence fee income by around £725m pa. We will give those eligible households an opportunity to voluntarily pay for a TV licence and so make a contribution to the cost of the BBC’s services. In the next Parliament, the BBC will take-on responsibility for the over 75s policy and how this balances with funding services to audiences.
By the way, I had to check that The Times had the right 'James' here. I wrongly assumed former Labour cabinet minister James Purnell was the BBC's director of policy but, no, he's actually the BBC's director of strategy. Former Labour advisor James Heath really is the BBC's director of policy.
Glad to have cleared that up.