Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has criticised reports that the BBC is considering reneging on its responsibility to provide a free TV licence to the over 75s.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The minute the chancellor announced passing responsibility for the free TV licence over to the BBC, we knew its future would be in danger. It has been a cynical move by government to outsource part of its wider welfare policy to an unelected body – and then wash its hands of the consequences. In any functioning democracy, people need access to information and entertainment – especially when two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main source of company. One of the reasons we have the free TV licence in the first place is because our state pension remains one the lowest in the developed world. What’s worrying is if the BBC starts to use famous and wealthy older celebrities from licence fee payers money to try and persuade ordinary pensioners to give up their TV licence. Many older, vulnerable people might be taken in by this when they should be protected. The government needs to take back responsibility for the free TV licence or we’re going to see it cut by stealth and then eventually removed altogether. In effect the chancellor has managed to privatise government cuts at the expense of Britain’s older generation.”