Chesterfield MP 'disappointed' with decision to scrap free TV licences for people aged over 75

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins says he is 'disappointed' that free TV licences for people aged over 75 will be scrapped.

The BBC has announced that free licenses for over-75s will be means tested from June 2020, in a controversial move which has drawn criticism from campaigners.

In Chesterfield 5,030 households could lose their free TV licenses depending on whether they receive Pension Credit.

Mr Perkins questioned the Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright MP, in parliament and challenged him to confirm whether the BBC had ever promised to retain free TV licenses for all over 75’s.

Mr Perkins said: “I am disappointed that free TV licenses for people over 75 will be ending. This could cost local people over £750,000 per year. You can’t means test for isolation or loneliness. Thousands of elderly and isolated people in Chesterfield will lose out because of this announcement.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall said that the move was 'not an easy decision', but argued that the policy was fair.

He said: "Whilst we know that pensioner incomes have improved since 2000, we also know that for some the TV licence is a lot of money.

"It would not be right simply to abolish all free licences. Equally, it would not be right to maintain it in perpetuity given the very profound impact that would have on many BBC services.

"And importantly, it is not the BBC making that judgement about poverty - it is the Government who sets and controls that measure."