Age UK launch petition to save free TV licence for over 75s

Age UK launch petition to save free TV licence for over 75s
Age UK launch petition to save free TV licence for over 75s

Charity age UK has launched a petition to oppose the BBC's plans to remove free TV licences for over 75s.

The charity says that television is often the main form of company for over a million of the oldest people in the country,

The BBC is considering removing the right to free TV licences for the over 75s.

Age UK say that If this goes ahead, it’s the most vulnerable people in our society who’ll suffer.
A statement from the charity said: "Removing older people’s access to TV would be a cruel blow when many are already facing huge challenges.

"Half of all over 75s are living with a disability, and many rely on their TV for companionship and entertainment.

"For those who don’t have the internet, TV lets them stay up to date with what’s happening in the world.

"Nearly of over 75s are living in poverty or just above the poverty line.

Mick Tinkler, Chief Executive of Age UK Notts, said:: “The issue of loneliness in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire is widespread.

"The TV is a precious window on the world for these isolated older people, with over 100,000 older people in Nottinghamshire saying the TV is their main companion.

"Despite recent progress, there are still significant numbers of older people living on very low incomes who would genuinely struggle to pay the licence fee if required to do so.

"The BBC took on responsibility for the concession as part of a broader deal with the Government in which they received some significant benefits.

"Now it is their responsibility to appreciate the very significant role that television plays in many older people's lives and the damaging consequences of watering the concession down or removing it from them.

"We are asking local people to join with us to demand that the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences for everyone over 75 by signing Age UK’s petition."

The government began funding free TV licences for the over-75s in 2000, when Gordon Brown was chancellor of the exchequer.

A report commissioned by the BBC in October said pensioners are now less likely than any other age group to live in poverty.

The report by Frontier Economics, which was commissioned to carry out the research, stated: "Incomes, wealth and life expectancy of older people have improved significantly, pensioner poverty rates have fallen, and older households report higher well-being on a range of metrics."

In 2001, free licence fees for the over-75s cost the government £365m.

The report forecasts that by 2021, that figure will rise to £745m a year.

Sign the petition at ageuk.org.uk/tvpetition