Commissioner ‘extremely disappointed’ that the BBC will withdraw free TV licences for over 75s from August
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“I am extremely disappointed that the BBC has confirmed it will withdraw the free TV licence for people over 75 who do not receive Pension Credit from August, something that will affect thousands of older people throughout Wales.
“For many older people, the ‘exceptional circumstances’ which led to the BBC delaying its plans during the pandemic were not exceptional at all – we know that over half of the 260,000 older people in Wales aged 75 or over live alone and that, for many, television is their only companion and their primary source of news and entertainment.
“We also know that thousands of older people in Wales who are entitled to pension credit do not claim it, with up to £214 million being returned unclaimed to the treasury each year. Under the changes that will be introduced, these older people will lose further financial assistance that can make a positive difference to their lives.
“Relative income poverty amongst older people is increasing – 1 in 5 older people in Wales is now trapped in persistent poverty – and the loss of the free TV licence is will exacerbate this for many.
“I am therefore calling again on the UK Government to fulfil its manifesto commitment to maintain funding for free TV licences for people over the age of 75, which would allow the BBC to reverse its decision.”