An image stating Labour will save free TV licences for the over 75s
An image stating Labour will save free TV licences for the over 75s

Kate has expressed her concern that thousands of local pensioners could lose their free TV licences if government plans go ahead.

Millions of older people across the country could lose their TV licence in 2020 despite the Conservatives’ 2017 manifesto promise to protect free TV licences until 2022.

After the 2015 election the Conservative Party broke its manifesto promise and outsourced the responsibility of paying for free TV licences to the BBC, meaning that the pensioner benefit could be curtailed or cut completely.

The Labour Party will try and force a vote in Parliament on Wednesday 8 May to keep free TV licences for over-75s.

In Stretford and Urmston, almost 6,000 older households could face having to pay a licence fee.

If the concession is means-tested, for example by linking to Pension Credit, 4,450 households will lose this crucial pensioner benefit.

If the age for the concession is raised to 80 2,220 local households will be hit with new expenses.

As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

By outsourcing responsibility for paying for free TV licences, the government will be saving £745 million across the UK in 2021/22. This is in addition to the £220 million the government will be saving that same year through changes to pension credit.

This money, nearly a billion pounds, is coming directly out of the pockets of pensioners.

Kate said, “This government has broken its manifesto promise to keep free TV licences until 2022, and now millions of elderly people are facing losing their free TV licences.

“If these plans go ahead, thousands of local people over the age of 75 in my community will lose out.

“This is yet another Tory policy that punishes pensioners. Through scrapping free TV licences and changing pension credit alone, this government would offload almost a billion pounds of costs onto our oldest citizens in a single year.

This Tory government is picking pensioners’ pockets. Labour is calling on the Government to urgently reconsider and fund free TV licences for over-75s.”

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