New research has highlighted that changes to free TV licences to over-75s will cost local pensioners hundreds of thousands of pounds a year combined – money which will go straight to the Treasury’s coffers.
This comes as the BBC’s consultation on the future of free TV Licences for over-75s closed last week.
Millions of older people across the country could lose their TV licence in 2020 despite the government’s 2017 Manifesto 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. The options being tabled are:
- If free TV licences are scrapped completely, this will cost over-75s in 6,070 households across Dagenham and Rainham a combined total of £913,535 a year.
- If the age threshold is raised to 80, local over-75s will pay a combined total of £334,110 a year.
- If free TV licences are linked to Pension Credit, altogether our oldest citizens amounting to people in 4,470 households will pay a total of £672,735 a year.
Jon Cruddas MP said: “none of these options work for over 75’s in my constituency. This government has broken its promise to keep TV licences free until 2022, and thousands of elderly people in Dagenham and Rainham will be paying the price.
“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. I’m urging the government to reconsider.”
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 a billion pounds, is coming directly out of the pockets of pensioners.