MP hits out over TV licences decision

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

A city MP has accused the Conservatives of breaking a manifesto promise after the BBC axed free television licences for over 75s.

Ms Reynolds

The broadcaster announced that from June 2020 only households with a pensioner in receipt of Pension Credit will be eligible for a free licence.

It comes after the Government passed responsibility for funding the £745m cost of the scheme onto the BBC.

In Wolverhampton, 11,360 pensioners – two thirds of all households currently eligible for a free TV licence – will no-longer get one.

Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds, who has campaigned against the changes alongside the city’s other MPs Eleanor Smith and Pat McFadden, said: “At the last election the Conservative Party stood on a platform to keep free TV licences for the over 75s. Now, 11,000 Wolverhampton pensioners have been betrayed by a government which promised to keep them.

“It is plain wrong that Boris Johnson is championing big tax cuts for the wealthy, while all but the poorest of pensioners now face having to pay for their TV licence.

“According to Age UK, 400,000 over 75s neither meet nor speak to family and friends every week. “When I met with local pensioners, they told me how essential a TV is. A TV is often their only form of companionship, and the only way of knowing what is happening outside their home.”

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has written to Tory leadership candidates asking them to protect free licences for the over 75s.

Describing the situation as "a matter of honour", he wrote: "If you are victorious in becoming Prime Minister I know you will not want your first act to be a betrayal of three million pensioners."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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