Charity calls for free TV licences to remain for over-75s
More than two million over-75s would have to go without television or cut back on essentials such as heating or eating if free TV licences are scrapped, a charity has warned.
Age UK said more than 40% of people over 75 would not be able to afford the licence or would have to cut back on essentials to pay for it, based on the results of its research.
Currently, households with people over 75 are entitled to a free TV licence.
But the Government-funded scheme, which is expected to cost £745 million by 2021-22, comes to an end in 2020 and it will be for the BBC to decide whether to continue it, and in what form it will exist.
Age UK found that of the 20% who said they could afford the TV licence but would have to cut back in other ways, a quarter (25%) said they would have to spend less on heating and 20% would have to cut back on food.
The cost of the licence is set to increase on April 1 from £150.50 to £154.50 a year.
The charity said its research indicated that 50,000 pensioners could be pushed below the poverty line if the BBC decides to scrap free TV licences.
The licence was a valued benefit for the over-75s, providing entertainment, news and company for many, it said.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “TV is a source of great pleasure and comfort to many of the oldest people in our society and it’s a crying shame that millions could soon be faced with choosing between cutting down on food and heating or paying to continue to enjoy it.
“The Government created this problem and it is in their power to solve it: we urge them to stop hiding behind the BBC and accept their responsibility for free TV licences for the over-75s.”
Strictly Come Dancing judge, Len Goodman, told the Mirror: “For some older people telly is their only companion. It’s what breaks the day up when they don’t see anyone and keeps them in touch with the news.
“TV provides entertainment and educational value for older people.
“For the chronically lonely TV must be a precious window to the modern world.
“So even hearing that they might have to pay for it will worry a lot of them.”
A Government spokesman said: “We know people across the country value television as a way to stay connected with the world. The BBC will take on responsibility for free licences for the over-75s from 2020 and it is right that they’ve confirmed no decisions will be taken until the public have been fully consulted.
“We’ve been clear that we would want and expect them to continue with this important concession.”
Kantar TNS surveyed 1,235 adults aged 65 and over in January.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Netflix will make Olivia Colman’s debut in The Crown free to watch - November 14, 2019
- 5 female firsts that broke new ground in British political history - November 13, 2019
- 9 things a Lyme disease expert wants everyone to know - November 13, 2019
- World Kindness Day: 6 reasons why being kind is actually good for you - November 12, 2019
- Boost wildlife and reduce pollution by planting a hedge - November 12, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!