Scrapping free TV licences to over-75s will cost pensioners in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath nearly £1m a year – money which will go straight to the Treasury’s coffers.
That’s according to Labour research, as the BBC’s consultation on the future of free TV licences for over-75s closes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12.
As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.
Free TV licences are set to be curtailed or cut completely from 2020, despite the Conservatives’ 2017 manifesto promise to protect free TV licences until 2022.
If free TV licences are scrapped completely, 6,540 households in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be affected, costing over-75s a combined total of £984,270 a year.
If free TV licences are linked to Pension Credit, 5,040 households will pay a total of £758,520 a year.
If the age threshold is raised to 80, over 75’s would pay a combined total of £391,300.
Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath said: “This makes a mockery of Theresa May’s claim that austerity is over.
“Many elderly residents, a significant proportion of whom face the stark choice of eating or heating over a long winter, say the TV is their main source of company.
“The thought of these pensioners struggling to bear the additional burden of paying for a TV licence – or going without their TV – doesn’t bear thinking about.
“By outsourcing responsibility for paying for free TV licences, the Government will be saving £745 million across the UK in 2021/22.
“This is in addition to the £220 million the Government will be saving that same year through changes to pension credit.
“Instead of breaking its manifesto promise and pickpocketing from pensioners’ pockets, the Government should take responsibility and save TV licences for the elderly. To do otherwise would be utterly heartless.”