Falkirk MP warns over-75’s could lose free TV licence

Falkirk MP Martyn Day is reminding constituents that Tuesday marks the end of a consultation on a move that could see the end of free TV licences for over 75’s.

By Roy Beers
Saturday, 9th February 2019, 2:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th February 2019, 3:56 pm
Martyn Day MP.
Martyn Day MP.

The Falkirk East and Linlithgow SNP politician says this would directly affect 8,761 in his constituency alone, while his party argues television is a vital lifeline and source of news and entertainment for older people.

However BBC director-general Tony Hall has previously claimed the service would be “worse for everybody” if the concession continues in its current form.

He said the cost would have to be made up from programming and services budgets.

The BBC consultation has suggested a number of alternatives to blanket free licences, including a means-tested option.

Free TV licences are expected to cost £745 million a year by 2021/22, and government funding for the scheme ends in June next year.

But Mr Day says pensioners would suffer if the free licence came to an end: “According to the BBC’s own figures, scrapping ofthe over 75s concessionary licence will take an average of more than £22,000 a week out of the pockets of over 75’s in every MP’s constituency”, he said.

“Age UK have also warned that scrapping the concession would push 50,000 over 75s into relative poverty, which is disturbing to say the least”.

The online consultation survey is at www.bbc.co.uk/yoursay