Burnley MP calls for Government to 'think again’ on TV licence fees for over-75s

Free TV licenceswere introduced in 2000
Free TV licenceswere introduced in 2000
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Burnley MP Julie Cooper has called on the government and the BBC to ‘think again’ over the decision to means-test licences for the over-75s.

The BBC has revealed eligibility for free licences will be means-tested from June next year, leaving them only available to those who qualify for pension credit.

It is expected the change will cause 3,610 pensioners in Burnley and Padiham to lose their free TV licence.

Mrs Cooper said: "This is the Government’s fault not the BBC’s.

"How long before they scrap bus passes and the Winter Fuel Payment? In addition to the impact on individual pensioner households means testing free licences will take half a million pounds out of the Burnley and Padiham economy.

"This is why I am urging the government to think again and come back with a plan that meets the needs of older people.’

Charity Age UK estimates that 650,000 pensioners nationally will no longer receive a free licence because they do not claim pension credit to which they are entitled.

Free TV licences were introduced in 2000 as part of a programme by the then Labour government to reduce pensioner poverty.

In 2015 it was announced that the BBC would be taking over the cost of providing this scheme which was expected to reach £745 million by 2021/22.