'Bus passes will be next' - Hartlepool community and MP have their say on BBC's TV licence changes
More than 90% of Mail readers have said the TV licence should be free for all over-75s.
An online poll completed by 1,736 people revealed that 91% of those who took part think this benefit, introduced in 2001 by Labour, should continue. The BBC announced on Monday, June 10 that only over-75s in receipt of Pension Credit will continue to receive a free licence.
This will come into force in June 2020, when the BBC takes on official responsibility for the scheme from the Government.
The Conservative Party’s 2017 general election manifesto pledged to protect pensioner benefits, including the free licence, for the duration of this Parliament, which could technically run until 2022.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill welcomed the news that some over-75s would still receive a free licence, but added that it “does not go far enough”.
He said: “All people over the age of 75 have contributed to society for their entire life and it is a great comfort to many poorer pensioners that they will no longer have to pay the license fee at that age.
“I understand that Prospect are concerned that this statement from the BBC could be followed up by staff cuts to pay for the policy.
“I will be lobbying the Government to ask for a full reinstatement of Government provision of TV licenses for those in receipt of state pension and for a commitment from the BBC that this will not result in redundancies for staff.”
Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, added: “I believe that the Government should rethink its policy on TV licence provision and reinstate the full free licence for the over-75s.”
Here is what Mail readers had to say on Facebook:
Michael Trueman: “Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice on D-Day. Oh by the way, we are scrapping your free TV licence.”
Ann Duncan: “Hope they're ashamed of themselves. TV is all some of the elderly have in their lives.”
Andrew Brown: “Should be free to everybody.”
Angela Holroyd: “It should be everyone pay or everyone not pay! Those people living off a pension will struggle.”
Kevin Pratt: “Bus passes will be next.”