Rotherham group blasts Tories over plans to scrap free TV licences for over-75s

By Gareth Dennison | 19/06/2019

Rotherham group blasts Tories over plans to scrap free TV licences for over-75s
Keith Billington

ROTHERHAM Pensioners Action Group has criticised plans to scrap many free TV licences for over-75s — but refused to blame the BBC.

The freebies were introduced by Labour in 2000 but the cost was shifted over from government to the BBC by the Tories in 2015.

Under new rules, only low income households where one person collects pension credit benefit will be eligible, the Beeb has announced.

RPAG chairman Keith Billington said: “It was a Machiavellian decision to give the TV licence function to the BBC, when the Government struck a deal in 2015, under which subsidies would be phased out by 2020, with the BBC then having to shoulder the cost.

“The £745 million cost of maintaining the status quo would have taken up a fifth of the BBC’s budget. It should never have even been on the table.  

“The free TV licence is a state responsibility and not a broadcaster’s. 

“One comment I read and agree with is that you cannot means test for social isolation, you cannot means test for loneliness.”

RPAG, which attended the National Pensioners Parliament last week, said it would write to the three Rotherham MPs about the matter.

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