§ Mr. Alfred Morris
The fee charged by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department to blind people for television licences is £1.25 less than the standard fee. This concession is derived from the free wireless licences for the blind introduced in 1926. The last independent committee which inquired into broadcasting, the Pilkington Committee, described this concession as anomalous but said that, while no one would dream of withdrawing it, it should not be taken as a precedent for reducing or waiving licence fees payable by other classes of user. The equivalent reduction —£1.25—in the combined sound and television licence fee was continued when the separate licensing of sound radio reception was abolished in 1971. There are no plans to introduce reduced-rate licences for people with other disabilities such as deafness, but local authorities are empowered under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to meet the whole or any part of the cost of television licences in individual cases.