I am continuing my campaign against the Government’s decision to strip the free TV Licence from over 75s who are not on pension credit. As a result, up to 3.7 million older people – 1.6 million of whom live completely alone – are set to lose their free licence. For some, it is the only company they have as loneliness rises.
I recently wrote to the new Prime Minister asking that he reverses the decision and I have included the Government’s response below:
The attempt to place the responsibility on the BBC is unacceptable. The BBC should not be responsible for social policy – this lies squarely with the Government.
I will continue to campaign with Age Scotland for the reinstatement of the free licence.
Pension credit was brought in by the previous Labour Government and is a tax-free benefit aimed at retired people on low incomes. It’s means-tested, but for those who qualify it can be worth £1,000s a year. However, an estimated 1.3 million eligible households don’t claim the top-up – in many cases because they don’t realise that they’re entitled to it. By claiming pension credit, you can also qualify for a host of other benefits, including council tax reduction, cold weather payments, free dental care and, from June 2020 of course, a free TV licence if you’re over 75.
If you want to check if you can claim Pension Credit (or wish a full financial health check) call the free Age Scotland Helpline on 0800 12 44 222 to speak to an independent adviser in complete confidence. It is a superb service and available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.