Edinburgh Eastern MSP, Ash Denham, has again called on the UK government to ensure that her constituents over the age of 75 will not be forced to pay for a TV licence.

Despite the Conservatives making the retainment of free TV licences a key pledge of their election manifestos in 2015 and 2017, over-75s not in receipt of pension credit will be demanded to pay an extra £154.50 per year.

Restrictions were due to come into force from 1 June this year but this date was delayed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic but have not been extended any further past 1 August.

Denham has supported calls in Scotland for the licence to remain free and last year visited Age Scotland to support their petition to the UK government to see the disgraceful decision over-turned.

Commenting, the Edinburgh Eastern MSP said:

“When a political party makes a promise, people expect those promises to be kept – particularly to our elderly, who have worked hard all of their lives and deserve dignity and our immense respect.

“If these restrictions are brought forward, free licences will only be available to households with one person aged over 75 who receives pension credit, totally contradicting Tory manifesto promises in 2015 and 2017 and ending almost 20 years of free licences for this age group.

“After years of Tory austerity and after the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the last thing our older people need is money being taken out of their pockets. The extra burden of £154.50 to their household bills could have a serious impact on already hard-stretched finances.

“In the UK, over half of over-75s live alone and many – two fifths of older people according to an Age UK survey – say the television is their main company. A television is something which has the ability to make someone who lives alone feel less lonely as it helps connect them with what is going on in the country and the rest of the world. For the Tories to remove this free service to the elderly is cruel.

“It’s vital that we keep TV licences free for over-75s as the cost of buying a TV licence could be a real barrier to many people.”


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