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June 27, 2019

Switched off! The price of TV licences for older people

For over a million of the oldest people in our country, television is their main form of company. Right now, that’s under threat. Will the BBC’s intention to change the number of older people who get free TV licences result in an increase in loneliness and social isolation?

The BBC has announced that from June 2020 they intend to make TV licences free only for those over-75s in receipt of Pension Credit, which would remove the concession from the great majority of people aged 75+. According to the BBC’s Equality Impact Assessment, 900,000 households would receive it and 3.75 million would have to pay, including the 650,000 people aged 75+ who would qualify for Pension Credit, but do not claim it. The move will also leave many people just above the income threshold for Pension Credit, worse off than people who do receive it, once they have paid for the licence.

“Us old ones have paid this tax all our lives and for many this is their only form of entertainment and company.”

“My income is a tiny bit above receiving any help, so I pay for everything with a struggle at times. This free TV licence is a welcome help.”

Age UK has launched a campaign and petition – Switched off: save free TV for older people – against the change, demanding that the Government takes back responsibility for keeping TV free for the oldest people in our society.

Age UK’s view is that people who are most in need will miss out, and people who are barely scraping by will suffer.

You can sign the Age UK petition here.

Rob Cook
Time to Shine Communications Officer