South Shields MP joins campaigners outside BBC Newcastle to protest TV licence plans

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck joined forces with campaigners outside BBC Newcastle to protest controversial TV licence plans.

By Sarah Sinclair
Saturday, 22 June, 2019, 11:46
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck joins protesters outside BBC Newcastle

Almost 4,000 pensioners in South Shields face losing their free TV licence after the BBC announced last week that the Government-funded, free over-75s TV licence scheme would be replaced next year.

From Monday, June 1, 2020, TV licences will be means-tested and only households where one person recieves pension credits will qualify.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck joins protesters outside BBC Newcastle

Ms Lewell-Buck joined more than 30 campaigners outside BBC Newcastle on Barrack Road in Newcastle City Centre to protest the plans at noon on Friday, June 21.

The protest was part of a nationwide demonstration, organised by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

The organisation called on pensioner groups, trade unions, community groups, members of the public, MPs and councillors, to gather outside their local BBC in order to make a stand against the decision.

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“This is bang out of order what the Government have done, outsourcing their responsibilities and then trying to shift the blame onto the BBC,” said Ms Lewell-Buck.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck joins protesters outside BBC Newcastle

She continued: “We have already seen the Government chip away at what little pensioners are afforded by the state. I don’t think they will stop at this, if we let them get away with this, they will start chipping away at other social policies.”

“There’s a lot of people who will be affected by this change who are of an age, who wouldn’t have been able to get to Newcastle today to protest, so we were protesting on behalf of them and fighting for them, to make sure that they have a voice.”

Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention commented: “It was about giving a message to the BBC to stand up for themselves.

“The betrayal of the Government will not be forgotten and the BBC’s part in that betrayal can be reserved if they are strong and stand up to the Government and say, ‘we don’t want to do this anymore’.”