Anger over the BBC’s failure to restore the over-75 benefit – a new plan is revealed
One year after the elimination of free TV licenses for over-75s, campaigners have promised to increase pressure on the BBC and government ministers.
The BBC announced a year ago this week that free licenses for retirees would be phased out beginning in August. The decision to withdraw the perk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic generated outcry across the United Kingdom.
Silver Voices, a campaign group that advocates for issues affecting those over 60, has urged its members to withdraw their license fees in protest of the decision.
However, after a year, neither the BBC nor the government have indicated that the free license will be reinstated.
“I’m frustrated by the BBC’s unwillingness to work with us to find a solution.
“I’m also unhappy that, despite wringing their hands over a lot of things, the government hasn’t seen fit to intervene,” Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices, told This website.
Televisions are frequently regarded as a lifeline for the elderly, offering companionship.
Having a television was reinforced during the epidemic, when Britons were ordered to stay at home for extended periods of time.
Mr Reed told this website that Silver Voices members were putting extra pressure on the government to rectify the issue in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the termination of the free license.
“Right now, as we approach the anniversary of the real implementation date of August 1, we’re encouraging our members to call their MPs, if they have a Conservative MP, and beg the Government to intervene,” he said.
“The issue hasn’t faded away; it’s still front and center, even with so much going on with the epidemic.
“We’ve managed to keep the issue alive thus far.
“That’s fantastic; it demonstrates the depth of feeling regarding this.”
Gordon Brown was the first to provide free television licenses for over-75s at the turn of the century.
In 2016, the BBC committed to bear the cost of covering the licence fee fees as part of a re-negotiation of its royal charter detailing its responsibilities.
However, it announced in June 2019 that the benefit would be phased off.
It stated that free licenses for over-75s will only be offered to individuals who received Pension Credit in the future.
The BBC has taken no action against people who refuse to pay. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”