Commissioner calls for the free TV Licence for Over 75s to be protected
Anyone living in the UK over the age of 75 currently receives a free TV licence under a government funded scheme. In 2015, the government took the decision that they would no longer fund the scheme and that responsibility for the concession would transfer to the BBC. Four years on, the BBC is now considering removing the right to free TV Licences for over 75s. The BBC launched a consultation inviting views from the public and organisations about what to do when this funding comes to an end.
The Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch, has responded to the consultation: “I have written to the BBC and expressed that I’m strongly opposed to any plans to scrap the TV Licence concession for over 75s.”
“The number of pensioners living in poverty has been rising in recent years and unlike younger people, older users often do not have the option or do not use the internet enough to avail of cheaper or free alternatives such as Netflix, Amazon or youtube.
“For many older people, TV is a lifeline and often a source of companionship and comfort.
“It’s my view that both the Government and the BBC have let down over 75s in the UK by not giving due consideration to the continuation or the funding of this concession, especially given the fact that they had four years to come up with a solution to mitigate cost.
“I have made it clear to the BBC that I do not support the current option as laid out in the consultation and I call on the BBC to consult with Government to establish how they can honour its promise to maintain the concession.”