The BBC have announced that Free TV Licences for most Old Age Pensioners will be withdrawn from 1st June 2020. If you know or care for elderly friends or relatives, or if you yourself are a pensioner you will know what a savage blow this will be. Tony Blair’s Labour Government introduced free TV Licences for pensioners, and our current Conservative Government is reversing this concession to the elderly despite their Election promise specifically not to do so. In 2015 they announced an end to the Free Pensioner Licenses and said that the BBC themselves would have to fund the concession … it seems the BBC simply can’t afford to and as such all Pensioners who do not qualify for “Pension Credit” ie the absolute poorest of pensioners will have to pay about £155 per year to watch TV.
Debates rage about how much the BBC spend on high paid celebrity presenters and about how many pensioners there are who can easily afford to pay, but the leader of the Labour group on the Forest of Dean District Council, Di Martin, said “The government are responsible, they run the country after all, we must think about the pensioners who might lose their lifeline.”
It is estimated that 5650 households in the Forest of Dean will have to find this £155 per year. These are people who are living off an income as low as £168 per week and already struggle to pay for utilities, food, gifts, insurances, etc.
Di Martin is particularly unhappy and believes we all should make a stand. “I’m disgusted that the government is putting the responsibility for free licenses on the BBC and as a result onto the elderly and infirm in the Forest.” Our MP Mark Harper has recently attempted to stand as leader of the Conservative Party and Di thinks that he now has enough influence to make a difference as long as he feels there really are strong feelings in the community “I suggest that people should write to Mark Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling him that taking pensioners’ free TV licenses away is wrong. He should focus on his elderly constituents instead of his career”