BBC profits are up 50% to £159m after scrapping free TV licences for over-75s because they were ‘too expensive’ – The Sun

BBC profits are up 50 per cent to £159million — after scrapping free TV licences for all over-75s because they are too expensive.

Its commercial arm BBC Studios had a bumper year selling natural history and other popular shows to American TV networks.

But critics said the cash should be used to continue to subsidise licence fees for the elderly — which the BBC claims it can no longer afford to do.

Tory MP Nigel Evans said: “This shows the BBC is a money-raking machine when they put their minds to it.

“Instead of funnelling that money for themselves, it should be used as a subsidy for the elderly. It’s what I have been campaigning for.”

BBC Studios makes Strictly Come Dancing, Silent Witness, and Top Gear, among others. A chunk of its increased profit came from selling a back catalogue of nature shows to the Discovery Channel.

It also sold shows and licences to Netflix and Amazon, handing back a total of £243million to BBC bosses.

A spokesman said: “BBC Studios exists to support the licence fee and profits go back into programmes and services that licence fee payers enjoy.

“We’ve taken all this into account when considering our decision on what we can afford for free TV licences for over-75s.”

The BBC claims the cost of handing out free licence fees to over-75s is around £500million a year.

The soaring profit, revealed by spending watchdog the National Audit Office, comes as the Government is considering decriminalising failure to pay the TV licence.

BBC Studios was formed in 2018 in a merger between BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide. It hopes to make £1.2billion by 2021/22.

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