Cllr Alan Hall has joined campaigners, trade unionists and pensioners’ activists and written to the Government and BBC to ask them to stop the switch off for the over 75s. The covid lockdown isn’t over and many older people are shielding. How can this cruel decision be taken now?
Read the letter:
Dear Secretary of State Oliver Dowden and Director General Tony Hall,
I’m writing to urge you to sit down and work together urgently to save free TV Licences for over 75s.
The Labour Government introduced the free tv licence for the over-75s when Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer produced a ‘budget that unites the whole country’ and ‘offers stability and security for all.’
Fifteen years later, the Chancellor, George Osborne cut £650m from the BBC’s budget, transferred the responsibility for the over-75s licence fee directly to the BBC as he met Rupert Murdoch before the announcement in June 2015.
This sleight of hand was to fund £12bn of benefit cuts mainly from the Department of Work and Pensions – the DWP funded the over-75s free TV licence.
I was bitterly disappointed by the announcement that the BBC are going to proceed with their plans to take away free TV licences from most people over 75. This is a kick in the teeth for older people during a terrible year.
Last year I alongside 634,333 other Age UK supporters signed a petition to keep TV free for all over 75s. I never received a reply from Government.
I am really worried about older people on low incomes who will find it hard to find £150 plus a year to pay for a licence so will have to give up some other essentials, or try to survive without TV at all. I am particularly concerned about older people battling loneliness and isolation, people who aren’t online and for whom the television provides a lifeline to the outside world, information, entertainment and companionship.
I implore you to work together and find a solution to save millions of older people from this decision which will cause enormous anxiety distress and for hundreds of thousands, real hardship.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Cllr Alan Hall