It is not the BBC’s responsibility to look after vulnerable older people, it is the responsibility of the Government. However, the Government quietly pushed the job of providing free TV licences to the BBC without giving them the funding to do the job properly, or asking us, the public, whether this was right. If it is TV licences today, will it be bus passes or winter fuel payments tomorrow?
Now, after several months of public consultation, the BBC has announced plans to means-test the TV licence for the over 75s. Under the new system, from June 2020, only those who are claiming Pension Credit will be entitled to the free licence. However, we know that many older people who are eligible for Pension Credit do not claim. This may be because they do not know about Pension Credit or because they are too embarrassed to apply.
For many this additional expense will cause much anxiety and distress.
In light of this, Age UK is petitioning the government to take back responsibility for providing free TV licences for over 75’s. You can sign the petition via the Age UK website (www.ageuk.org.uk), alternatively call us on 030 300 30003 and we would be happy to add names to the petition or give information and advice about pension credits.