Labour & Cooperative MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has called on the government to protect free TV licences for pensioners.
In their 2017 election manifesto, the Conservative Party pledged to protect free TV licences for over 75s but are about to renege on that promise. Following a decision to devolve the responsibility for tv licences to the BBC, proposals have now been brought forward to limit that provision.
On Wednesday 8th May, Labour secured an Opposition Day debate to force the government to honour their pledge.
In Redcar & Cleveland, 6620 households are at risk of losing their TV licence with a total cost of almost £1 million. Across the Tees Valley, 42,000 households could be affected with more than £6 million taken from older people in our region.
Age UK have warned that removing free TV licences would push around 50,000 more pensioners below the poverty line.
The UK is also facing a loneliness epidemic with half a million older people going at least five days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Anna highlighted the impact on Teesside pensioners like Elizabeth from Redcar:
“My constituent Elizabeth Tombling, who is 95 years old, says her TV licence is one of the few bits of pleasure she has in her older age, particularly as she is housebound.”
“Free TV licences are a lifeline for thousands of elderly people, especially when they are stuck in their home. They are already feeling the rising cost of living but this cut could push many more into poverty. £1 million is a huge amount of money to take from pensioners in our area and it is downright cruel.
“Instead of trying to disguise the cuts by passing the blame to the BBC, the government should honour their pledge and fund TV licences directly.”