Providing the free TV licences currently costs the taxpayer £631m. This cost is expected to rise to £700m by 2018, or almost one-fifth of the BBC’s income, because the number of older people is increasing.
Ben Bradshaw, a former culture secretary, was one of several Labour MPs to criticise the deal. “You have succeeded in making the BBC a branch office for the Department for Work and Pensions. This is a significant assault on BBC independence,” he said.