Thousands of Fife pensioners could lose free TV licence

Potential changes could result in thousands of Fife households affected.
Potential changes could result in thousands of Fife households affected.

A Fife MSP has called for a rethink after figures indicate that thousands of pensioners across the region could lose their free TV licence in 2020.

Claire Baker, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said that despite a 2017 manifesto promise from the Conservatives to protect free TV licences, a current consultation from the BBC could see free licences scrapped altogether.

Other possibilities include raising the age of eligibility from 75 to 80 or have it means tested.

The MSP claims that from figures obtained by her, as many as 24,040 households in Fife with someone aged 75 or older are at risk of losing their free TV licences.

And if the age threshold is raised to 80 then, 9,870 Fife pensioners would lose their TV licence.

“The Westminster Government knew what it was doing when it forced the cost of paying for free licences over to the BBC,” said Mrs Baker.

“The cost of free licences is expected to reach £745m by 2021/22, which would be a fifth of the BBC’s budget.

“This is the equivalent of what they currently spent on BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News Channel, CBBC and CBeebies

“The BBC is one of the country’s best loved and valued institutions, however by forcing them to take on free TV licences, the Tory Government are essentially slashing their budget.”

And she urged the Government to come clean.

“They need to tell us urgently what they are going to do to ensure free TV licences aren’t cut and they don’t break their manifesto promise.”