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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

K2 Crawley and other local leisure centres to reopen next week

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Local leisure centres in Crawley are set to reopen after being given the green light by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

K2 Crawley, Broadfield 3G Pitch and Pavilion and the Bewbush Centre, managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active in partnership with Crawley Borough Council, will reopen their doors on Wednesday 2 December following a month’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has confirmed all leisure centres across all tiers will be safe to reopen with strict operational measures in place.

However, local restrictions mean some activities are not available at some centres. Full information on how the tier system affects your local centre is available here.

Everyone Active has committed to keeping its customers safe and active, ensuring it will meet and exceed Government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 with the Everyone Active Pledge. Full detail on the operator’s pledge and safety measures can be found here.

While its 200 leisure centres across the country have been closed, Everyone Active has provided a comprehensive package of online workouts for people to use, along with live streamed classes across its social media pages.

Jon Hodgson, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said:

“We’re very much looking forward to reopening our centres and welcoming back the local community.

“After being closed for a month, this announcement from Government is the news the leisure industry has been eagerly awaiting.

“It is very important to give people the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre, particularly during the winter months, and this will go a long way to maintaining the good health of local communities.

“We would like to thank the 615,000 people across the country who signed the petition we supported to keep gyms open, which triggered a Parliamentary debate, and to acknowledge the impressive manner in which the leisure industry has pulled together.

“We would also like to thank Crawley Borough Council for their support, which has proved invaluable during this challenging year.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance.

“We will be contacting all customers directly over the coming days regarding the centres reopening. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and thank them for their patience.”

For further information on Everyone Active and its leisure centres, visit www.everyoneactive.com.

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