New research from the Labour Party shows that thousands of local pensioners could lose their free TV licences and pay a combined total of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year if Government plans go ahead.
This comes as Labour will try and force a vote in Parliament on Wednesday 8th of 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 Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency, 4,700 older households could face having to pay a licence fee, costing a collective £707,350 annually.
If the concession is means-tested, for example by linking to Pension Credit, 3,220 households will lose this crucial pensioner benefit, costing a collective £484,610 annually.
If the age for the concession is raised to 80, 1,970 households in the constituency will be hit with new expenses, costing a collective £296,485 annually.
As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.
By outsourcing responsibility for paying for free TV licences, this Government will be saving £745 million across the UK in 2021/22. This is in addition to the £220 million the Government will be saving that same year through changes to Pension Credit. This money, nearly £1 billion, is coming directly out of the pockets of pensioners.
The prospect of elderly people losing their free TV licences makes a mockery of Theresa May’s claim that austerity is over. The Government should take responsibility and save TV licences for the elderly.
Gerald Jones MP 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 the age of 75 in our community will lose out, and they will pay a combined total of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
This is yet another Tory policy that punishes pensioners. Through scrapping free TV licences and changing pension credit alone, this Government would offload almost a billion pounds of costs onto our oldest citizens in a single year.
This Tory Government is picking pensioners’ pockets. Labour is calling on the Government to urgently reconsider and fund free TV licences for over-75s.”