Gordon has hit out at the Tories for breaking their 2017 Election manifesto to protect free TV licences for the over 75s – a move that will impact 3,370 households across Blackpool South.
The BBC have announced free TV licences for the over 75s will now be scrapped and instead will be means tested and linked to pension credit – a consultation the Government has overseen from the start. The decision will affect over 3 million households across the UK – leaving many over 75s of modest means over £150 worse off and at risk of being cut off from the outside world if they lose their ability to watch the TV.
The benefit for all pensioners over 75s was brought in by the last Labour Government in 2000. A number of Gordon’s constituents have already contacted him expressing their anger towards the Tories and the BBC. He said: “Nearly 3,400 households in Blackpool South will be affected by this outrageous decision. It makes a complete mockery of the Tory manifesto promise to protect free TV licences till 2022. They should bear the prime responsibility for this.
“They have disgracefully shifted the responsibility and costs of the licence concessions to the BBC. It’s now time for the Tory Government of Theresa May to honour the election promise they stood on in 2017 and maintain the free TV licences for the over 75s. Many people affected have already written to me to say their free TV licence can often be only link to the outside world.
“Over 75s living on their own, particularly with severe mobility issues who may be significantly housebound will be most isolated and victims of this decision. The added stress and complexity of knowing whether or not they qualify for pension credit which can be a very difficult process will only make things far more complicated. Research by Age UK shows having to pay over £150 at today’s figures would hit them hard. Putting this extra financial burden on some of our oldest and most vulnerable people is a disgrace.”
Gordon added: “The BBC are also at fault as well with their fudged consultation statistics. 48% of respondents to their consultation said they were in favour of continuing the free TV licence, whilst only 15% said they wanted to see it scrapped. 37% of respondents said they wanted it reformed. They have completely ignored the wishes of the 48%, but still doing nothing to cut back on the bloated salaries of their senior management or leading presenters.”
You can sign Labour’s petition calling on the Government to reverse the decision by clicking here .