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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.”

Education

Now’s the time to apply to for your child’s secondary school place in Crawley

Families with children due to start secondary school in September 2020 can now apply for places online.

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Applications will be open until Thursday 31 October 2019.

Parents should apply for their child’s secondary school place by the deadline. Applying after the deadline will seriously affect the chances of your child being offered one of your preferred schools.

The quickest and easiest way to get information and apply is online: www.westsussex.gov.uk/school-places but those unable to apply online can request a form by calling 03330 142903.

The secondary school application online process is quick and simple, and an automatic email will acknowledge that the application has been received. Free use of computers with internet access is available in all West Sussex libraries.

Tips to remember when applying for secondary school applications: 

  • Parents are encouraged to apply for up to three schools and must list them in order of preference.
  • A child is not guaranteed a place at a school just because they are in the catchment area. Parents will need to select the catchment school as part of their application for it to be considered.
  • Those who miss the deadline for applications must still submit an application form, as a child will not automatically be allocated a school.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:

“This is an important step for children and their families, and we want to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. I would encourage all parents to submit their applications on time to give us the best opportunity to meet your preferences for your children. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Team.”

Primary or junior school applications

Applications for children due to start primary or junior school in September 2020 open on Monday 7 October and close on Wednesday 15 January 2020, more details to follow.

West Sussex County Council staff are available to advise parents on the admissions process. Parents can telephone 03330 142903 or email the Admissions Team North at admissions.north@westsussex.gov.uk or the Admissions Team South at admissions.south@westsussex.gov.uk.  

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