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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

Crawley joins money-saving initiative

Crawley Borough Council has become one of the founding members of the Local Government Mutual, helping to save money every year.

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The mutual aims to save its members money by offering an effective alternative to the conventional insurance products and services available to local authorities.

Any surpluses the mutual generates may be used to reduce the cost of insurance, improve the claims process or returned back to members as income.

The structure of the mutual means the council will not pay insurance premium tax, currently set at 12 per cent, on the vast majority of insurance products.

As well as saving money, the mutual puts councils in control by working together, sharing knowledge of best practice and reducing members’ risk exposure without increased costs.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said:

“It’s great to see Crawley Borough Council become a founding member of this initiative. The mutual is another way the council is saving money to put back into services and to reduce the forecasted budget gap.”

As a member, the council can still choose between the mutual and private companies for its insurance. However, the mutual can offer price matching or better cover that is up-to-date with changes in local authorities’ organisational and operational activities.  

The council can insure through the mutual from 1 April 2020.

Find out more about the Local Government Mutual here: www.local.gov.uk/new-local-government-mutual


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