Keeping the free licences was pledged in the 2017 Tory manifesto and perhaps what is needed now is a direct approach to Boris about this.
He should forget the mistakes of the past, accept this is an important issue and exercise his power to reverse this stupid decision.
It would be a very popular thing for him to do.
Since 2000, anyone aged 75 or over has been entitled to a concessionary TV licence.
However, in 2015 the government decided to transfer the costs of the concessionary licence to the BBC as part of a wider agreement regarding the licence fee, arguably breaking their manifesto commitment to protect all pensioner benefits.
The current concession arrangement will cease in 2020 and parliament has given the BBC the duty to consult on the future arrangements of the concession, which will be funded by the BBC.
Free TV licences were introduced alongside other universal pensioner benefits, including the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes, to supplement a basic state pension that wasn’t high enough to cover basic essential costs.
While the government at the time had increased the value of means-tested benefits for older people, these don’t reach everyone with low and modest incomes – many don’t claim their entitlements while others miss out due to incomes just above the threshold.
The BBC was lumbered with this by the government but when the corporation was at Westminster giving evidence about this decision their arrogance was surprising.
The director general was very rude and I didn’t think he dealt with it well.
I am pleased to see the campaign against this decision is gaining intensity. It is something that is just not going to quietly go away.
The government should intervene as this is a welfare issue, not a broadcasting issue. The irony is this could cost the government more in the end if more people apply for credits.
The annual licence fee of £154 might not seem like a lot to most of us but it is a lot to those on a basic pension.
George Foulkes is a Labour peer and chairman of Age UK