Tories attack BBC over Tory cuts
Introducing free TV licenses for the over-75s was a barmy idea in the first place, entrenching the ageist idea that when you get to that age you're only good for sitting in front of the goggle-box all day. Why only TV and not other forms of entertainment which might be less harmful to body and mind? Why not just up the pension by a few pence and let people choose how to spend it? Why subsidise a ridiculously obsolete method of funding the protected monolith of the BBC?
Anyway it gives a chance for Mr Johnson to get some good publicity by opposing the decision to cut the universal scheme, despite the fact that it was his government which made the cut, and despite the fact that he won't carry that opposition far enough to actually stop it happening. Here's the official press release from the Lib Dems:
Responding to the Prime Minister calling for the BBC to "cough up" and pay for TV licences for all over-75s, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Layla Moran said:
"Boris Johnson has a habit of making lavish spending promises without any intention of actually paying for them; free TV licences for over-75s are the latest in a long list.
"If he wants to honour his pledge to keep TV licences free for over-75s, Johnson will have to reverse the cuts his own Conservative Government has inflicted on the BBC or fund them via his own spending pledge.
"It's reprehensible that the Tories are now attacking the BBC for a decision they forced it to make and that Johnson lays the blame at any door but his own.
"The Government must stop undermining the BBC and instead seek a long-term agreement to guarantee the future of the fair, free and accurate broadcasting that we all benefit from."
I'm not so sure about that last paragraph ...