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Thousands of local pensioners could be about to lose their FREE TV License

With the Government now allowing the BBC to decide what to do with the benefit from 2020, Labour says one option open to them is to scrap the concession altogether.

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As part of the last BBC charter the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

The BBC can decide what to do with the benefit from 2020 and they are currently consulting on a number of options including scrapping the free TV licence concession altogether, raising the eligible age to 80 and means testing it, for example by linking it to pension credit.

Now, new figures released by the Labour Party and produced by the House of Commons Library seem to  show that under each of the changes proposed by the BBC in their consultation, millions of pensioners will lose their free licences.

The figures include:

  • The House of Commons Library calculated that were the free licence linked to pension credit, i.e. means tested, over 3 million people would lose their free licence. If the eligibility age was raised to 80 over 1.8 million older people would lose their free licences.
  • The House of Commons Library has also calculated local figures with 5,510 older households in Crawley at risk of losing their free TV licences.
  • If the age threshold is raised to 80, then 1,840 local pensioners will lose their TV licence. If free TV licences are means tested 4,280 will lose their free licences.
  • The Campaign to End Loneliness found that 40% of older people say their television is their main source of company.
  • Analysis by Age UK found that almost a million (873,000) pensioners wouldn’t have seen or heard from anyone over the festive period.

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough council and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Crawley said:

“The Tory Government knew what it was doing when it forced the cost of paying for free licences for over 75s out to the BBC.

“Labour was completely opposed to this and we are still firmly of the belief that the Government was totally wrong to outsource a social policy in this way.

“It will be a terrible blow to older people who already struggle to make ends meet and particularly to those who are housebound or isolated, and rely on their TV for company.

“The Tory Government needs come clean and to tell us urgently what they are going to do to ensure free TV licences aren’t cut and they don’t break their manifesto promise. If they do nothing, responsibility for older people losing their TV licences will rest firmly at their feet.”

Lifestyle

Council offers four new apprenticeships

Kick-start your career and make a positive difference to our community, is the message coming from Crawley Borough Council

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The council has four exciting roles available:

  • Worth Park Horticultural Apprentice
  • Communications Apprentice
  • Apprentice Building Maintenance Surveyor
  • Apprentice Specialist Fitter (Vehicle, Plant and Equipment).

Our apprenticeship opportunities aim to help talented people take their first steps in specialist areas while gaining local government experience.

If you’re passionate about helping others and making a difference to Crawley’s residents and the local environment, an apprenticeship with the council could be perfect for you!

The full-time 18-month Horticultural Apprentice role is a unique opportunity based at Worth Park; it’ll combine your passion for sustainable horticulture, hands-on outdoor tasks and a thirst for learning new things.

If you enjoy writing and have a keen interest in the media, Communications Apprentice might be the role for you! During the 18-month programme you’ll write press releases, schedule social media posts, work with local and regional press and so much more.

The Building Maintenance Surveyor vacancy is a two-year apprenticeship with Crawley Homes. You’ll work alongside experienced surveyors and get hands-on experience as a valued member of the Responsive Repairs and Planned Maintenance Teams.

Learn how to service and repair a wide range of vehicles, plant machinery and mechanical equipment with the Specialist Fitter apprenticeship. For three years, you’ll be part of our experienced Vehicle Workshop Team based in County Oak.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “As a council, we’re committed to offering these opportunities to young people and those looking to start a new career.

“With our apprenticeships, you can be earning a competitive salary while gaining invaluable work experience and a transferable qualification – there are no drawbacks!”

All vacancies close on Sunday 21 July and offer a starting salary of £12,042.

Find out more about our apprenticeships and register for vacancy alerts at crawley.gov.uk/apprenticeships

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