bbc_newA union has launched a legal challenge against the Government’s attempt to shift the payment of free TV licences for the elderly over to the BBC.

The deal agreed between culture secretary John Whittingdale and BBC director general Tony hall is expected to cost the BBC £750m by 2020, almost a fifth of the corporation’s annual income.

Now the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has launched a legal challenge to the deal which it believes is in breach of public sector equality, unlawfully discriminates against persons under the age of 75, as well as being in breach of the BBC’s rules of governance.

NUJ general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, said today that the ‘shabby deal’ would not be a good deal for viewers or staff.

“As well as being a bad deal done without any engagement with licence fee payers, we also believe that it is legally flawed and our legal team has written to the BBC Trust asking a series of questions and requesting it to reverse its decision to agree to pay for the licences of those aged 75 and over.”

To date, Whittingdale has since said the funding decision depended on the outcome of the current consultation on the corporation’s charter review.