Arran MP slams move to scrap free TV licences

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson has hit out at the Government decision to stop the TV licence concession for over 75s.

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An MP has condemned the UK government for a decision to stop funding free TV licences for pensioners over 75.

Currently all households with someone aged over 75 are entitled to receive free TV licences, funded by the UK government to help tackle pensioner poverty and isolation.

The government will withdraw this funding completely from next year, insisting the concession is a matter purely for the BBC.

Age UK who provide information and advice and a number of services for the elderly have warned that scrapping the concession would push 50,000 over 75s into relative poverty.

North Ayrshire and Arran MP, Patricia Gibson said: ‘More than 9,000 of my constituents are over 75 and each would be detrimentally affected if the concessionary licence is scrapped.

‘According to the BBC’s own figures, scrapping the over 75s concessionary licence will take an average of more than £22,000 a week out of the pockets of over 75s in every single UK constituency.

‘For many older people, their television is a lifeline – particularly for the most vulnerable older people. Many rely on their TV for companionship and entertainment as well as helping them stay up to date with what’s happening in the world.

‘The BBC is a broadcaster. Public welfare is not its remit and it should not be expected to decide this. It is the responsibility of the UK Government, and I believe it is despicable that it has abrogated its responsibility in this way and left the BBC to decide on whether to charge over 75s.

‘I urge the Tories to honour their manifesto commitment and maintain pensioner benefits, including the TV licence, so that elderly people can continue to enjoy watching television for free.’