The over-75s TV licence fee debate so far

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley

Plans announced by the corporation this week mean, from June 2020, only low-income households will not have to pay.

TV star Christopher Biggins said it was "wrong" to means-test older people.

"And I think taxpayers now expect the BBC to do the right thing".

The BBC announced on Monday, June 10 that only over-75s in receipt of Pension Credit will continue to receive a free licence.

"Helen Thomas, Director BBC England and the Crown Dependencies, has written to the Chief Minister this week and will look forward to discussing considerations with the Isle of Man Government as soon as possible".

Following a public consultation, the BBC decided that means-testing pensioners and giving free licences only to those on pension credit is the fairest way. I really am disgusted, the fact that many of our older people are struggling to make ends meet and provide for themselves, it's bad.

Free TV licence will no longer be available for all British residents over the age of 75.

He added: "Everyone likes to bash the BBC but they do a wonderful job".

He said: "This is an aspect of social policy and the Government ought to take this one on board, no reason to load it off on to the BBC".

That was the fear voiced by service users at a day centre in Dunmurry run by the charity Age NI, where many older people have voiced concerns about how they are going to afford to pay for a TV licence.

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Why has the Government passed on what is essentially a welfare benefit to a media broadcaster?

Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey opposed the move, with the latter saying she felt "ashamed" of the BBC.

The broadcaster said the futures of networks including BBC2 and BBC4, as well as radio stations, would have been at risk had the licences continued to be provided for nothing.

"TV brings great comfort to millions of older people who live alone and those who are housebound - no doubt helping them to keep informed, entertained and connected to the outside world".

Ms Sales replied: "I think so, they need to definitely do that".

"Without that, I've got nothing".

The TV presenter and adventurer's pledge came as an Age UK petition calling for free television for the elderly to be protected hit more than 350,000 signatures.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill welcomed the news that some over-75s would still receive a free licence, but added that it "does not go far enough".

At present, nearly four million pensioners receive free licences.

"It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for 3 million older people, leaving a Tory manifesto promise in tatters". It is estimated that 1.3 million over-75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not claim the benefit.

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