BBC re­jects PM’s plea to ‘cough up’ on TV li­cences for over-75s

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Giles Sheldrick Chief Re­porter

MIL­LIONS of pen­sion­ers are “piggy in the mid­dle” as the Gov­ern­ment and BBC refuse to budge over the scrap­ping of free TV li­cences for the el­derly, a char­ity said last night.

Over-75s will be made to pay £154.50 next year af­ter the BBC said it could not af­ford to keep the con­ces­sion, de­spite be­ing told to by the Prime Min­is­ter.

The broad­caster blames the Gov­ern­ment while Boris John­son in­sisted the cor­po­ra­tion has enough cash to en­sure the perk con­tin­ues.

But while they pass the buck mil­lions of OAPs – in­clud­ing 907,210 veter­ans – face the prospect of pay­ing for the first time in two decades or risk a heavy fine or im­pris­on­ment.

Caro­line Abra­hams, char­ity di­rec­tor at Age UK, said: “It’s hugely re­gret­table our older pop­u­la­tion is piggy in the mid­dle in the es­ca­lat­ing row.

“It is also re­ally clear to us that the BBC’s plan to means-test free li­cences from next June can­not go ahead. If it does we know hun­dreds of thou­sands will miss out on a free li­cence, even though they’re on a low in­come, be­cause they won’t be re­ceiv­ing the qual­i­fy­ing ben­e­fit – Pen­sion Credit. The re­sult will be that some very vul­ner­a­ble older peo­ple will have to choose be­tween economis­ing on food and heat­ing or giv­ing up their cher­ished TV. It’s time the BBC and the Gov­ern­ment sat down and sorted this out be­tween them. The pub­lic is over­whelm­ingly in sup­port of free li­cences con­tin­u­ing for over-75s.”

Un­der cur­rent arrangemen­ts all over To­day’s 75s are el­i­gi­ble for a free TV li­cence. But from June 1 only those in re­ceipt of Pen­sion Credit will be able to get one when the ben­e­fit is means-tested.

Over­all 80 per cent of the el­derly who rely on the perk – around 3.7mil­lion peo­ple – will lose the con­ces­sion. Nine­teen per cent of those aged 75 or over cur­rently re­ceive Pen­sion Credit, around 1,046,833 peo­ple.

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