Having raised my deep concerns with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, I am left angered by the government’s wanting response. The UK Government stand by their U-turn on the 2017 manifesto promise to provide free TV licenses to over-75s.
Free TV licenses to the over-75s was introduced by the Labour Government in 1999 to address pensioner poverty, which up until this point had been on the rise. The policy was successful and saw poverty for this age group decrease significantly. This Government reversal will see 3,810 households lose their free TV licence in Delyn alone, at a cost of £573,405 to these households each year. Read more “TV licence for over-75s: Ministerial response”
In the UK Government’s 2017 General Election manifesto they promised millions of older households that people over 75 would keep free TV licences until the end of this Parliament – that is, until 2022.
But the UK Government outsources responsibility, and the financial costs of this policy, to the BBC. Free TV licences are set to be curtailed or cut completely from 2020 as the UK Government have provided no additional resources to the BBC to continue this policy.
If these free TV licences are scrapped it will mean 5,130 people in Delyn will lose their concession. During my frontbench colleagues opening remarks I pointed out that if we lose free TV licences for over-75s it will not be the UK Government breaking a promise from two years ago but 22 years. They promised that they would support our legislation when we introduced it and they must be held to account for their actions.