The BBC is set to scrap free TV licences for nearly 4 million older people, it has announced.

The broadcaster says it will scrap blanket free licences for over-75s, following a consultation with 190,000 people, of which 52% were in favour of reforming or abolishing free licences.

However, households with one person who receives Pension Credit will still be eligible for a free licence.

That leaves around 3.7m over 75's who will have to pay for a TV licence when the new rules come into force in June 2020.

Free TV licences for the over-75s were introduced by the last Labour government in 2000 in an attempt to reduce pensioner poverty, under an arrangement that saw the government compensate the BBC for lost revenue from public funds. That arrangement was scrapped in 2015, leaving the BBC to pick up an estimated £750m bill.

In a report released in February by Age UK, they urged the government to "take back responsibility" for funding free licences for over 75s.

"Removing or limiting the concession would have a major impact on the lives of many of our oldest citizens, particularly the most vulnerable who are living with some combination of disability, low income and loneliness," it said.

"The Government should take back responsibility for funding the free licence. It is not appropriate for the BBC, as a public sector broadcaster, to make decisions about who should receive concessions or to be responsible for funding what is, in effect, part of our welfare system."

"People aged 75+ are more likely than younger people to live alone which, combined with the high levels of ill health and disability, can make them isolated and dependent on TV for companionship, entertainment, news and information.

"We are very concerned that any changes could result in some older people giving up their television even if it is very important to them, while others may cut back on heating and other essential costs in order to buy a licence. "

According to the BBC, around 900,00 households are currently claiming Pension Credit, which is is a non-taxable weekly top up for pensioners based on a person's income, a figure which is expected to rise to 1.5m people by 2022.

BBC chairman David Clementi said it had been a "very difficult decision".

"We think its fair to those over 75 but also to all our audiences for whom there was no appetite for the level of cuts that would have been necessary if the concession had been extended," he added.

"There are people for whom this will be unwelcome news, who have not paid until now but will do so."