Thank you to everyone who’s contacted me in recent weeks regarding the TV licence fee.
In my role as Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary, I have continuously called out the UK Government on its broken promise to older voters who rely on this essential service, I joined with campaigners to call on the Government to honour its manifesto pledge:
The Covid pandemic has proved how vital television is in keeping us informed, educated and entertained. For many over 75’s, especially those who live alone, it has been a life saver.
It was a Labour Government that introduced the free television licence for over 75’s, and it is time for the Government to stop shifting the blame, and to come clean to the pensioners now having to make difficult choices between keeping their TV on or heating their homes.
In 2017 the Conservative Government pledged that they would maintain over-75s free television licences for the rest of parliament, which was due to run for five years. But the BBC had already been handed responsibility for funding the concession from June 2020, under a deal agreed in 2015. They broke a clear promise to older people and must be held accountable for the unnecessary stress and anxiety this has caused for people across the country.
Lord Foulkes, who chairs Parliament’s cross-party group on ageing and older people, has tabled a Private Members Bill which returns control of the licence fee to Government rather than the BBC. If this Bill is supported and proceeds, it could give the Government another opportunity to review their mishandling of the licence fee.
Please be assured I am monitoring the progress of this very closely.