Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has slammed a decision to withdraw free TV licenses for thousands of pensioners.

Today it was announced that, from June 2020, the blanket provision of free TV licences to over-75s will end. Instead, only households eligible for Pension Credit will qualify.

The decision over funding for free TV licences was offloaded onto the BBC by the government, leaving the corporation in a position where TV programming would have to be cut to manage the cost of free licences.

In Redcar constituency, 4770 households could see their free TV licence withdrawn next year, worth almost three quarters of a £million (£717,885). Across the Tees Valley, 29,560 households could be affected, with licences worth £4,448,780.

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.

If you would like to join Anna’s campaign against this, please take 2 minutes to fill in this petition: https://annaforredcar.org.uk/tvlicence

Slamming the decision, Anna said:

“This is a disgraceful U-turn by the Tories and amounts to theft from our most elderly residents on Teesside. £4.5 million is a huge amount of money to take from people in our area.

“I recently met 95 year old Elizabeth, who lives in Redcar, and she said her TV licence is one of the few bits of pleasure she has in her older age, particularly as she is housebound. Whilst the poorest pensioners, receiving Pension Credit, will be protected, there will be many older residents just above the eligibility threshold who will not be able to afford this.

“I urge the government to honour their election pledge and fund TV licences from central government funding, not cowardly leaving the BBC to take the flak.”

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