Gordon has warned that new statistics show that thousands of over-75 year-olds in Blackpool South could lose their free TV licences as a result of the Government breaking their manifesto pledge in 2017 to maintain pensioners’ benefits in the current Parliament.
He was speaking after the Government ducked voting on Labour’s Opposition Day Motion in Parliament, demanding they stepped in to prevent the BBC’s proposals to scrap or curtail the pensioners licence fee concession – originally introduced by the Labour Government in 2000.
Gordon said: “Figures show that 5,410 households with over 75s in them could lose out in Blackpool South if the free licences were scrapped – worth £800,000 at today’s rates. The Government disgracefully shifted the responsibility and costs of the licence concessions to the BBC – and is now trying to devolve the blame. If the concession is means-tested – say to pension credit, the number of households hit in my constituency will still be 3,370.
“Labour has opposed this betrayal of the Government’s pledge to pensioners from the outset and intend to continue pressing the Government to reverse this policy. Constituents who have written to me about this issue have stressed how their free licence was a link to the outside world – to have to pay over £150 at today’s figures would him them hard, as Age UK research has shown.
“Over 75s living on their own, with severe mobility issues and housebound would be more isolated and victims of the Tories’ back-door austerity. Countrywide this would mean the Government offloading almost a billion pounds of costs onto our oldest citizens in a single year.
“We will challenge the Government to respect the Commons vote they were too ashamed to vote against and to make sure these free licences they promised to maintain are not scrapped.”