UK Government break promise on free TV licences for over 75s

On the day the BBC’s consultation on the future of free TV licences for over-75s ends, Cardiff West MP and Shadows Arts & Heritage Minister, Kevin Brennan, has slammed the UK Government for breaking their manifesto promise and has accused them of using stealth methods to try and hit Welsh pensioners' pockets and cause damage to the BBC.

If free TV licences are scrapped completely it will cost over-75s in Wales a combined total of £32 million a year, this is despite the UK Government promising them their free TV license would remain in place until 2022.

The situation has arisen because the UK Government has outsourced the social policy to the BBC without giving them the financial means to maintain it. The most likely enforced options for the BBC are to scrap it completely, give concessions linked to pension credit or raise the qualifying age.
Mr Brennan says this is a disgraceful way to treat pensioners and the BBC.

"There is theme running through this Tory Government where they either kick difficult decisions further down the road or force those difficult decisions on other people and organisations to make," said Mr Brennan.

"This is exactly what they have done by outsourcing the free licence fee for over-75s to the BBC, who now face a difficult decision of slashing up to £745 million from their own budget, forcing elderly people to pay their own fee or a combination of both.

"This Tory Government is using stealth methods to hit Welsh pensioners' pockets and in the process they are trying to pass the blame onto the BBC who will also be hit hard by these disgraceful tactics both financially and through their excellent reputation.

“The Government are already going to save £220 million in 2021/22 through their changes to pension credit and by going after free TV licences as well they will make almost £1 billion by hitting the pockets of the elderly.

"The pensioners in my constituency who could lose their TV licence either now or when they reach qualifying age will be furious at this Tory Government for breaking their manifesto promise and rightly so.”