• Kirsten

Urgent Question: BBC 21st July 2020

Today in the virtual parliament, I raised the terrible decision to cut free TV licences for the over 75s. This will have a dreadful impact on older members of our community, in particular with the timing hitting at the same time as many older people are struggling to emerge from lockdown.


It was an entirely cynical move by the Conservatives to pass this decision to the unelected BBC Board, but they can’t avoid political responsibility for the board’s decision.

For many of the over 75s in East Renfrewshire, television is a vital part of their life, providing them with entertainment, information, and continuing education, and this has been especially true over recent months.


Today in the virtual parliament, I raised the terrible decision to cut free TV licences for the over 75s. This will have a dreadful impact on older members of our community, in particular with the timing hitting at the same time as many older people are struggling to emerge from lockdown.


Many of the affected households will make the effort to pay their licence fee, even if it means going without in other areas of household spend.


Governments should be working to assist older residents in East Renfrewshire not giving them the added worry of possible loss of such a lifeline service if household budgets get tight.


The Conservative Government took the decision to stop funding free TV licences in 2015, and, in 2017, the UK Parliament legislated to leave the BBC Board to take any further decisions on the future of the concession.


Free licences for the over75’s had previously been funded by the Treasury as part of the UK government’s welfare approach to supporting older people.


The move was delayed by two months because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Sir David Clementi, BBC Chairman, announced the decision on behalf of the Board on Thursday, 9 July.


Following the Board’s decision, licences will still be issued free to households where one resident is receiving pension credit.


The decision of the BBC Board means over 80% of households in East Renfrewshire with a resident aged over 75 will face an increased annual cost of £154.50.




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