BBC Trust may have quit over free licences

THE Trustees of the BBC board considered resigning en masse if the coalition pressed ahead with plans to shoulder the institution with the cost of providing free licences to over 75s.

The dramatic move was prevented by an eleventh hour deal that involved a six-year licence fee freeze – which will cost it 16 per cent of its budget – and it taking on the cost of both the World Service and Welsh programming body S4C.

The BBC said the deal is “tough but fair” and will guarantee its future independence. The £556m it would have been burdened with if it had to pay for 4m free licences would have grown exponentially as the average age increases.