FOR over a million of the oldest people in our country, television is their main form of company. Right now, that is under threat.

BBC plans to means test TV licences for the over 75s. This will mean that TV licences will only be free for those people who receive Pension Credit.

A growing number of people believe that this change will harm significant numbers of older people who rely on their TV. A petition launched by Age UK has been backed by numerous charities, voluntary groups and trade unions.

The petition has already gathered over half a million signatures. This clearly shows how strongly people feel about this key issue. Together, we must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences.

The introduction of “means testing” TV licences for the over 75s is due to be effective from June 2020.

Under the plans, only older people who receive Pension Credit will receive a free TV licence. But the fact is that two fifths of people who are entitled to this benefit, about 1.2 million pensioners, aren’t getting it. Some don’t know they can claim, many struggle to apply and lots more feel embarrassed about needing help.

These people are some of the poorest in our society. Those most in need already miss out. Lots of older people have struggled throughout their working life to save a little extra for retirement. But that small pot of savings for a rainy day means they don’t qualify for means-tested benefits. Others are coping with the costs of ill-health or disability. Taking their free TV licence away is a cruel blow.

Please sign the petition and contact your local MP to ask them to support this campaign.

For further information and a link to the petition, go to

Joan Pritchard-Jones