Age UK Lindsey’s chief executive has blasted the BBC’s plans to scrap free TV licences for all over 75s as an “absolute disgrace” - and is encouraging residents to sign a petition against the move.
Age UK Lindsey, a local independent charity and brand partner of the national Age UK charity, provides vital services for thousands of elderly people and their families across North Lincolnshire and East and West Lindsey – and their CEO has met these proposals with complete condemnation.
Announcing Age UK Lindsey’s move to insist this plan is reversed, chief executive Andy Storer called for local people to voice their anger during a consultation on the issue and is furious that the so called ‘people’s organisation’ should even consider such a move.
Mr Storer said: “I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the BBC is even contemplating such a measure.
“The fee is currently £154.50 for a colour TV and for some pensioners who we know are already struggling to heat their house, it will come down to a choice of either heating a room or being able to afford a license.
“This will mean many sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties will be forced to give up their TV, which gives them both companionship and entertainment.
He added: “It is disgusting and Age UK Lindsey will oppose this and ask that the decision is reversed.
“It is no way to treat our older people, but we also know that this is really the Government’s doing as they pushed the scheme onto the BBC without asking any of us what we think.
“We must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences for everyone over 75.”
Following the announcement to look at means-testing the current free structure, the BBC has already faced a backlash, with the national Age UK charity pointing out that nearly a fifth of over 75s live in poverty – over half of them living with a disability - and many of them rely on TV for companionship and entertainment.
The charity is urging people to share their concerns by signing their petition, which has already achieved over 400,000 signatures, by visiting: www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/save-free-tv-for-older-people.