BORIS Johnson has declared war on the BBC by demanding they “cough up” the money to fund free TV licences for all over-75s.
The PM declared it had to scrap plans to strip nearly four million of the perk.
He insisted the Beeb must abide by the promise made in 2015 to pick up the £750million-a-year tab so the Corporation could push through a fee hike.
Mr Johnson said: “The BBC received a settlement that was conditional upon their paying for TV licences for the over-75s. They should cough up.”
His outburst on the fringes of the G7 summit in Biarritz, south-west France, marks a dramatic escalation of the stand-off between Downing Street and BBC bosses.
In the Tory leadership contest, Boris said the Beeb should “sack” well-paid footie presenter Gary Lineker rather than saddle OAPs with the £154.50 a year charge from next June.
But this was his first attack on the corporation as PM.
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The cost of free licences is being transferred next year from the Government to the Beeb — which says it can only afford to fund them for low-income households.
But the TaxPayers’ Alliance said Boris was “tuning into the public mood” and said the Government should review the entire licence fee structure.
The BBC said: “It was the Government who decided to stop funding free TV licences for the over-75s, and Parliament gave responsibility to the BBC to make a decision on the future of the scheme.”
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