Rother Valley MP accuses Government of ‘picking pensioners’ pockets’ over free TV licences

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

New research from the Labour Party shows that changes to free TV licences to over-75s will cost local pensioners thousands of pounds a year, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.

Millions of older people across the country could lose their TV licence in 2020 despite the Conservatives’ election promise to protect free TV licences until 2022.

As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

New research by Labour shows the total combined cost for older people in this area of each of the BBC’s scenarios for the future of the TV licence concession.

If free TV licences are scrapped completely, it will cost over-75s in Rother Valley a combined total of more than £1 million each year.

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 is coming directly out of the pockets of pensioners.

This makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s claim that austerity is over.

The Government should take responsibility and save TV licences for the elderly.

If these plans go ahead, people over the age of 75 in our community 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 and I am calling on it to urgently reconsider and save free TV licences for over-75s.