Save free TV licence for older people

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin is urging everyone to have their say about proposals to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s by joining the 115,000 + people who have already signed the Age UK petition.

A television is vital for so many older people. Especially those who live alone. Millions of older people, particularly those who are lonely or housebound with disabilities, rely on their TV as their trusted companion and window on the world.

New research carried out for Age UK* has found that more than two million over-75s would have to go without TV or cut back on essentials such as heating or eating if the concession is scrapped.

Of the 20 per cent who stated they could afford the TV licence** but would have to cut back in other ways, a quarter (25 per cent) said they would have to cut back on heating and a fifth (20 per cent) said they would have to cut back on food to afford the extra bill which is set to rise from 1 April 2019 from £150.50 to £154.50 per year.

The Government-funded scheme comes to an end in June 2020. In November 2018 the BBC, who will be responsible for managing and paying for any future scheme, launched a three-month consultation to hear the views of the public. This ended in February 2019 and the BBC’s board hopes to make a decision by the summer.

Age UK is calling on the Government to urgently take back responsibility for the funding and administration of the free TV licences policy.

Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin said: ‘One in six pensioners are living in poverty in the UK, that’s over 18,000 in Shropshire. Paying a hefty extra bill would simply be impossible when many older people are struggling to pay for their heating and food bills. For an estimated 10,000 older people suffering from isolation and loneliness in the county, the TV is sometimes the only means by which older people gain enjoyment and entertainment; it triggers imagination and raises curiosity about the world around us’.

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin is urging people to support the campaign, by signing Age UK’s national petition – and by sharing their views via social media and word of mouth.

This will have an impact on many of our members at Shropshire Disability Network so please support Age UK in their attempt to bring change.

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