'It's disgusting' - South Tyneside communities and MPs have their say on BBC's TV licence changes
More than 90% of Gazette readers have said the TV licence should be free for all over-75s.
Only over-75s in receipt of Pension Credit will continue to receive a free licence from June 2020.
This is when the BBC takes on official responsibility for the scheme from the Government.
The Conservative Party’s 2017 general election manifesto pledged to protect pensioner benefits, including the free licence, for the duration of this Parliament, which could technically run until 2022.
Ahead of the announcement, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn said: “This disgraceful decision is an invention of the Tory Government.
“This outcome was easily predictable after it outsourced a social policy to get the BBC to do its dirty work.
“The pensioners deserve better and they won't forget.”
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South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “TV should not be a substitute for real human contact, but sadly it is a lifeline for so many older persons, with loneliness and pensioner poverty on the rise we now see this utterly contemptible Government outsourcing their public policy duty and reneging on their manifesto promise.”
Here is what Gazette readers had to say on Facebook:
David Turnbull: “Shouldn’t even be a debate! Should be scrapped all together.”
Marion Nicholson: “It’s disgusting when old people depend on their TV for company if nothing else.”
Jack Pearce: “Free TV licence for over-75s is the second-best thing the Labour Government has done, the first being the NHS.”
Diane Ford: “Licence should be scrapped anyway, but taking away from pensioners yet again!”
Sadie Abdu: “Yes, disgusting, making OAPs pay for a TV licence.”
Carl Mason: “Would love to hear what the 9% of people on this poll have to say about not giving the free TV licence.”