Thank you to many of my constituents who have contacted me about TV licences for people over the age of 75.
I too am outraged that millions of older people will lose their free TV licences and I fully agree that the Government should take back responsibility for maintaining the free licence.
I was proud to be part of the Labour government that in 2000 introduced free TV licences for people over 75. The Labour government recognised that the licence fee could be a source of concern for many people over the age of 75. It is an important benefit for pensioners, who suffer disproportionately from loneliness and social isolation. This Government was elected on a manifesto which promised to maintain free TV licences for the over-75s throughout this Parliament – that is, until 2022. The Government insists this is now a matter for the BBC, but I believe the Government must take responsibility. MPs and campaigners have made it clear that scrapping free TV licences would be a betrayal of our older citizens, who deserve dignity in retirement and reward for their hard work.
I have written to the Minister at the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport expressing your and my concerns. As soon as I have a reply I will publish it.
I can assure you I will continue to press the Government to step in to fund free TV licences for the over-75s.
Derek Twigg MP