Liberal Democrats demand Govt step in as over 16,000 pensioners in Derby could lose free TV licence.

August 16, 2020 3:06 PM

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to reinstate free TV licenses for over 75s during the COVID-19 crisis, amid concerns that the decision to cut this benefit will leave millions of elderly people without television at a critical time. TV 3

As of 1 August 2020, TV licences are now only free for people over the age of 75 if they are receiving pension credit.

This dramatic cut, which affects over 16,000 people in Derby comes after the Government passed on responsibility for funding free licenses to the BBC. The broadcaster has said that it cannot afford to continue funding them on a universal basis.

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to step in and cover the cost of providing the licence for over 75s, and ultimately to set up an independent body to review the licence fee.

Cllr Ruth Skelton Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader for Derby said: "We are in the midst of a national crisis. It is outrageous that over 16,000 people in Derby are losing free access to public broadcasts at a time when it could not be more important, especially for those who are vulnerable or isolated.
"Liberal Democrats want to see the Government step in and provide funding to reinstate free licences given the crisis we are facing. We are also calling for an independent body to review the licence fee going forward."

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport, Daisy Cooper MP said: "With many older people still worried about leaving home due to the ongoing risk of coronavirus, television has been a lifeline.

"Responsibility for this lies firmly with the Government. They forced the BBC into a position where they had to choose between further cuts to programming or cutting back free licences. "The Government must foot the bill so millions of elderly people are not left without television during this ongoing crisis".

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