FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local MP ‘deeply concerned’ that TV licence pledge ‘ripped up’ for almost 4,000 pensioners in Oxford East
Anneliese Dodds, Labour MP for Oxford East, has expressed ‘deep concern’ about today’s news that free TV licenses will be removed from the over-75s. Figures suggest that this would mean 3,830 pensioners in Oxford East having to pay for their licence- amounting to £576,415 overall being paid by pensioners in Oxford East.
Anneliese said: “Sadly we live in a society where two in five pensioners report that their TV is their main source of company. These changes mean that pensioners on relatively low incomes will, inevitably, have to forego the pleasure of watching their favourite programmes.
Those most affected will not be millionaires but the opposite- people who receive only just over £167 a week in pensions and other income- ruling them out for Pension Credit and now for also for a free TV licence. Dozens of pensioners have already contacted me with their fears about this and sadly they have been proved right to be worried.
It is particularly galling to see this cut announced when the current governing party pledged at the last general election to maintain the free TV licence for over-75s. That pledge was comprehensively ripped up today”.
Overall, the change will affect three million older people. While the Government has maintained that the decision came from the BBC, this followed the Government passing responsibility for the free TV licence to the BBC back in 2015, despite warnings that this was not sustainable.
Anneliese added: “I would advise all local pensioners who think they may be receiving less than £167 a week in income (or £255 if they’re a couple living together) to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit – which now will be the only means to qualify for a free TV licence as well. I will continue to push for a reversal of this decision, which looks set to substantially reduce the quality of life of many pensioners, particularly the most isolated and lonely”.
The BBC reported the Charity Director of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, stating that as a result of this decision, elderly people are likely to feel “enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too”, and: “But in the end this is the government’s fault, not the BBC’s.” It also reported the National Pensioners Convention as stating that the BBC “has done the government’s dirty work for it” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-48583487)
40% of older people say the television is their main source of company: (www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research)