TV licence fee: Mary Creagh MP accuses government of 'ruthless welfare cut'

Mary Creagh MP has accused the government of "picking pensioners' pockets" over the decision to scrap free TV licences for over-75s.
Mary Creagh MP has accused the government of "picking pensioners' pockets" over the decision to scrap free TV licences for over-75s.

Mary Creagh MP has accused the government of "picking pensioners' pockets" over the decision to scrap free TV licences for over-75s.

Up to 3.7 million pensioners who have received a free TV licence will now have to pay for it, the BBC announced earlier this week.

From June 2020, free TV licences will be means tested, and only households where one person receives pension credit will qualify.

Currently, 5,760 households in Wakefield receive the free TV licence. The change is expected to affect as many as 4,300 of these households, costing them £154 a year.

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Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, said: "This Government has broken its election promise to keep free TV licences for pensioners until 2022, and, as a result, thousands of Wakefield pensioners will lose £154 a year.

“This is a tax on loneliness, and another ruthless welfare cut. I will fight it every step of the way.”

“The Government is picking pensioners’ pockets. Two Tory leadership candidates have pledged to reinstate the benefit. The rest must follow suit.”

The change has been widely criticised, and more than 189,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to scrap the TV licence.

Following the announcement on Monday, Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said: “It is completely appalling that the Tory Government is allowing this to happen.

"I’m calling on Ministers to urgently step in and halt this unfair plan - especially as they promised not to let it happen.

"Nearly 5,000 pensioner households in this constituency are going to be hit.

"Many elderly people really rely on the television as a lifeline, especially if they are lonely.

"This adds up to three quarters of a million pounds in total being taken off pensioners in our towns. It’s completely unfair on people who have worked hard all their lives.”