I have been campaigning to save free TV licences for the over-75s. There was a huge amount of support for this from local people a few weeks ago at my street stall in Bilston. They were disgusted that the Tory axe is now hanging over free TV licences for the over-75s. Many people signed up to the campaign and I’d like to thank all those who came out to support this very important campaign.

The Labour Government introduced free TV licences for the over-75s some years ago. We did it because we understood that as people get older and their income declines, the cost of a TV licence can be a big burden.

Now the Tories have placed the axe over this important benefit by shunting responsibility for it to the BBC. It is a benefit and should be paid for by Government in the same way as other benefits.

If the age limit is raised to 80 or entitlement is restricted to pensioners on pension credit that would mean over 2,000 households in my constituency alone losing out. £150 a year is a lot of money for pensioners and they shouldn’t have to pay for the Tories’ broken promise.

The Tories said in their manifesto that this benefit would be protected for the whole Parliament but now the BBC is consulting on drastically reducing entitlement. The Government should stick by their promise and fund this benefit for the full parliament.

I have included a copy of my letter to the Minister and the response.
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