Your Chad is today issuing a rallying call to the Government to reinstate free television licences for over-75s.
The decision to slash free TV licences for more than three million pensioners has been widely criticised, and was described by Mansfield MP Ben Bradley as “wrong”.
Your Chad, together with our sister JPI Media titles across England’s Heartlands, is calling on the government to work with the BBC and reassure over-75s that they will still be entitled to free TV.
More than 5,000 households in Mansfield will lose their access to free TV licences under the new plans.
Last week, the BBC announced that the government funded, free over-75 TV Licence scheme would be replaced next year.
Monday, June 1, 2020, free TV licences will be means tested, and only households where one person receives pension credit will qualify.
Up to 3.7 million pensioners who have received a free licence in the past will now be expected to pay more than £150 a year for access to TV.
The decision has drawn criticism from the public, and more than 550,000 people have signed a petition, started by Age UK, calling on the government to reinstate the licence.
It is estimated that 6,830 households in Mansfield are entitled to a free TV licence, as well as 6,880 households in Ashfield.
Of these in Mansfield, about 5,180 pensioners stand to lose access to their free TV licences when the changes come into effect.
Your Chad is calling on the government to reinstate the free TV licence for all over-75s.
For the older population, many of whom cannot leave home, or do not have anyone to spend time with, TV is more than just background noise.
According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, almost half of pensioners rely on their TV as their main source of companionship.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK charity director, said: “Make no mistake, if this scheme goes ahead we are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up.”
What Jon Ball, your Chad's Head of Content, has to say
It has long been acknowledged that life for many elderly people is a struggle.
Be it loneliness due to a lack of visitors, or money worries as they struggle to survive on the meagre state pension, the lot of a pensioner is not always a happy one.
That is why initiatives such as free bus passes and free TV licences are to be applauded.
Bus passes allow those who are able to visit friends and family, or even the shops for some human interaction, while TV can provide a comfort for those unable to get out – and free TV licences ease the tough choice on how to spend their limited cash.
That is why the BBC’s decision to withdraw free TV licences for those three million people aged over 75 when “Auntie”takes over the scheme from the government next year is a particularly nasty kick in the teeth.
Your Chad is proud to back a JPI Media campaign calling for the decision to be reversed. But could we go further?
The licence was brought in back in 1946. However, times change and the Beeb no longer has a monopoly on TV or radio – indeed, some might argue it has fallen behind the likes of HBO, Sky and Netflix.
Does its particular remit still justify a TV licence? When its output is becoming increasingly more populist as it chases audience share, is it time to bite the bullet, axe the TV licence and let the BBC fund itself with adverts?