Labour makes an attempt to cease Tories jeopardising over-75s’ free TV licences | Media


Labour will attempt to drive a vote on Wednesday to induce the federal government to guard free TV licences for the over-75s.

The shadow tradition secretary, Tom Watson, will use an opposition day debate within the Home of Commons to hunt to place stress on the federal government over the problem. Accountability for funding the dedication, which prices an estimated £750m a yr, is being handed over to the BBC in June subsequent yr, underneath deal struck with David Cameron’s authorities in 2015.

The tradition secretary, Jeremy Wright, has mentioned he hopes the company will proceed to fund the profit, however the BBC has warned that it must shut channels and make vital cuts to programming if it was to satisfy the fee in full.

In a session that closed in February, it mooted different choices, together with asking the over-75s to pay the total licence payment, elevating the eligibility threshold to 80, or providing a reduction.

The previous Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, who launched the free licences coverage, has urged the federal government to maintain funding it.

Within the 2017 normal election manifesto, the Conservatives promised to “keep” pensioner advantages, “together with free bus passes, eye assessments, prescriptions and TV licences, throughout this parliament”.

Watson mentioned: “Right now Tory MPs have a selection: to honour the manifesto they stood on in 2017 or to ignore it, together with the belief of hundreds of thousands of older individuals.”

Opposition day votes should not formally binding, however Labour has beforehand used them to attract consideration to politically controversial points, together with common credit score and the local weather disaster.

Watson pointed to new evaluation by Age UK displaying that of the 4.5 million over-75s in England, 48% don’t stay with a accomplice, 30% have problem with not less than one day by day dwelling exercise and as much as 70% have a longstanding sickness that limits their actions.

He mentioned: “These new figures present simply how remoted and lonely many over-75s could be. It might be a horrible act of state cruelty to take free TV away from these susceptible individuals.”

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, mentioned: “The federal government now stands alone in its willpower to scrap the availability of free TV licences for all over-75s; this regardless of clear proof displaying how reliant many older individuals are on their TV, particularly the lonely, chronically sick and disabled, and the way arduous it might be for them to afford one more invoice.

“Stripping them of their free TV licence will inevitably depart vital numbers of older individuals unable to look at TV, which for a lot of is among the few remaining pleasures in life.”

Labour is eager to curry favour with older voters, who had been more likely to vote Conservative on the 2017 normal election. Jeremy Corbyn has promised to maintain in place a collection of different taxpayer-funded insurance policies, together with the “triple lock” on the worth of the fundamental state pension.



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