New research from the Labour Party shows that thousands of local pensioners could lose their free TV licences and together pay nearly £1million a year if Government plans go ahead.
This comes as Labour forced a debate in Parliament yesterday (Wednesday 8th May) to keep free TV licences for over-75s.
Millions of older people across the country could lose their TV licence in 2020 despite the Conservatives’ 2017 Manifesto promise to protect free TV licences until 2022.
In Wentworth & Dearne, 6,220 older households could face having to pay a licence fee, costing a collective £936,110 annually.
As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC. The BBC is consulting on options, including scrapping the free TV licence concession altogether, raising the eligible age to 80 and means testing it.
John Healey, MP for Wentworth & Dearne, said:
“This Government has broken its manifesto promise to keep free TV licences until 2022, and now millions of elderly people are facing losing their free TV licences.
“If these plans go ahead, thousands of local people over 75 will lose out.
“It’s yet another Tory policy that punishes pensioners. Labour is calling on the Government to urgently reconsider and fund free TV licences for over-75s.”
Free TV licences are an important benefit for older people who suffer disproportionately from loneliness and social isolation. The Campaign to End Loneliness found that 40% of older people say their TV is their main source of company.