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29 July 2019

Stevenson Blasts UK Gov Response on TV Licence Plans for Over 75s

The UK Government has refused to intervene after the BBC revealed plans to axe free TV licences for those over the age of 75.

It was previously revealed more than a million Scots pensioners will be hit when the BBC axes the free TV licence – at an overall cost of £41.4 million.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson wrote to the UK Government on behalf of concerned constituents calling for intervention to help support the move from happening.

However, in correspondence from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Mr Stevenson was told the decision to axe the concession was “entirely a matter” for the BBC.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright QC MP, said as part of the 2015 funding settlement changes had been introduced which meant responsibility for the concession would be in the hands of the BBC solely by June 2020 next year.

And despite concern from Mr Stevenson regarding the impact the changes could have on the older population including issues of loneliness, the UK Government insisted it was working to combat this.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“The Tories are breaking a manifesto commitment to over-75s and should be meeting this funding gap to help those affected by the move.

“Particularly in rural areas of the North-East, having access to television can be a lifeline for many older people.

“The UK Government claims it is committed to helping support the elderly population, so it is once again disappointing, but not surprising, that they have failed to provide any support on this issue.

“The Tories have tried to pass the buck by passing the blame to the BBC rather than taking action.

“The last thing people need in the North-East is another extra burden on top of household bills.”

Stewart Stevenson
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