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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

Crawley’s Thomas Bennett Students Celebrate Christmas with a Winter Concert

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Students at Thomas Bennett Community College celebrated Christmas with an amazing Winter Concert held last night.

More than 25 students performed and showcased an amazing array of talent.  Performances included some Christmas classics as well a vast array of music and songs from all genres.

The school hall was packed to the rafters with family, friends and staff all of whom came to watch.  Decorated beautifully for Christmas the atmosphere in the school was fantastic.  The highlight of course was the students, whose talent was just incredible.  Students played a range of instruments including keyboard, guitar and drums.  There was also plenty of vocal performances from students whose outstanding talent was just phenomenal.

Lots of hard work and commitment went into making the evening such a success.  Students have been practising tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event to ensure that they were able to perform with confidence.  The schools Sixth form students also played in a big part and helped organise the event and made sure it run smoothly. 

However, the concert wouldn’t have been such a huge success without the hard work of the schools entire music department.  Mr. Dobson, Ms. Wookey and Ms. Harvey all worked phenomenally hard to ensure that the evening was brilliant.  Their passion for music and teaching really shone through.

The event was the perfect way to finish the winter term. 

Headteacher, Stuart Smith said:

“The Winter Concert was just incredible.  I really couldn’t be prouder of the outstanding talent shown by the students last night.  The event was a real highlight of the year and wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Mr. Dobson and the music department.  We have some incredibly gifted students and watching them perform last night with such confidence was amazing to see.”

The whole school community enjoyed the experience so much that they are now busy thinking ahead and are getting ready to prepare for their Easter music concert.

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