BOLTON MP David Crausby has demanded concessions in the Budget for pensioners who can't afford their TV licences. Stepping up his campaign for cheap fees to view, he has written to Chancellor Gordon Brown giving him evidence of how other countries help their elderly. The Bolton North East Labour backbencher is furious that some pensioners get a £5 licence because they are in warden-controlled sheltered accommodation while others have to pay the full £91.50 licence fee.

In his letter to Mr Brown, Mr Crausby said: "I am writing to you on behalf of many pensioners in Britain and urging you to consider introducing consistently reduced TV licences for all pensioners.

"Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have all reduced TV licences for their pensioners.

"The forthcoming Budget would be the ideal opportunity to rectify the anomalies in the concessionary TV licensing system.

"We have already made a good start in providing for pensioners by giving them extra help with their fuel bills and a reduced television licence would be the icing on the cake they deserve.

"For many pensioners who live alone, television is a lifeline and, in many cases, it is their only form of entertainment and contact with the world."

In Ireland a pensioner gets a TV licence for just £18, while in Denmark they get it half price. There are subsidies in both the Netherlands and Germany.

Mr Crausby said: "Numerous countries in the European Community grant concessions and privileges to their pensioners and it is about time the British Government did the same.

"We should take this opportunity to rid ourselves of this overly bureaucratic and unfair system. In short, it is time we gave ALL pensioners a reduced licence.

"Gordon Brown has the opportunity in his forthcoming Budget to correct the ridiculous situation where one pensioner pays £5 while the rest have to find £91.50."

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