In July 2015 the BBC agreed take over the cost of providing free television licences for over-75s, to be phased in from 2018-19, as part of Government benefit cuts.
The Conservatives promised in their election manifesto to continue to allow over-75s to receive free TV licences along with other pensioner benefits.
Now the BBC is saying people over 75 may be asked to give up their free TV licence or make a voluntary contribution to it.
Dot Gibson, NPC General Secretary, says: “The minute the Chancellor announced passing responsibility for the free TV licence over to the BBC, we knew its future would be in danger. This is an example of government cuts at the expense of Britain’s older generation.
One of the reasons for the free TV licence, and other universal benefits, is that our state pension remains one the lowest in the developed world. Two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main source of company.
A report published last month published by Homewise, revealed that around 6.5 million pensioners have an annual income of less than £11,000, with at least 5.8 million struggling to afford essentials such as food and heating.
The BBC has said it will consider “means-testing” pensioners over 75 and removing the free licence where there is also a wage earner in the household. This is a cumbersome and costly process: if the wage-earner becomes unemployed, for example, the whole process would have to start again
The Government needs to take back responsibility for the free TV licence or we’re going to see it cut by stealth and then eventually removed altogether.
Here’s what you can do to help:
- Sign our petition
- Write to your MP,asking for the Government to take back responsibility for free TV licences for the over-75s
- Join Bridgwater Senior Citizens’ Forum and help us promote the welfare and interests of older people
Further information: M Duggan: 07591 405 304 / G Burrows: firstname.lastname@example.org
BRIDGWATER SENIOR CITIZENS’ FORUM