Anger over move to make Broxtowe pensioners pay for TV licences

The BBC's change of policy on TV licences could affect thousands of pensioners in Broxtowe, it has been claimed.
The BBC's change of policy on TV licences could affect thousands of pensioners in Broxtowe, it has been claimed.

Furious charities have slammed the decision that means thousands of pensioners in Eastwood, Kimberley and the rest of Broxtowe will lose their automatic entitlement to free TV licences.

The BBC has announced that free licences for over-75s will be means-tested from June, 2020, in a controversial move that has attracted nationwide criticism.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that, in 2026, there were 7,596 households in Broxtowe with at least one resident aged 75 or older.

Households without anyone who receives Pension Credit will have to pay for a TV licence under the new policy.

However, Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: “This scheme will see sick and disabled people in their 80s and 90s, who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up.

“Means-testing may sound fair but, in reality, at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners will face a big, new annual bill they simply can’t afford.

“The BBC’s decision will cause those affected enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too.

“The new Prime Minister should intervene and save the day for some of the most vulnerable older people in our society.”

It is believed that about 3.7 million households across the UK will now have to pay the fee, which currently stands at £154.50 per year.

The BBC says it is fair because the incomes of many pensioners had improved, and they could easily afford the licence. The money raised would help to improve the BBC’s services and programmes.

However, the new policy has upset many MPs, with Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party and shadow culture secretary, describing it as an “outrageous means test for loneliness” that would affect three million elderly.