Union members support bid to keep TV licences free for over-75s.
At the TUC’s annual congress motions from unions Prospect, the GMB and the National Union of Journalists condemned the “wrong-headed and unfair” decision to scrap them.
Licence to lie.
WHEN unions representing nearly six million workers demand no change to free TV licences for our over-75s, it underlines how out of touch the Tories are on this.
Blaming the BBC doesn’t wash when the Conservatives have broken their manifesto vow – and the whole country knows it.
Mikey Smith Political Correspondent
11 SEP 2019Duration 0:51
Thanks to a sneaky Tory manoeuvre to shift the benefit’s cost on to the BBC, the free licence is due to be mean-tested from next year.
That means only 1.5million OAPs who get Pension Credit will be eligible and up to 3.7million more will have to pay £154.50 for a licence or do without their TV.
The move breaks a Tory manifesto commitment to fully fund the benefit until 2022 – but PM Boris Johnson has refused to backtrack.
The Mirror is campaigning to save free licences, which the Beeb estimates would cost it £745million a year to maintain in full.
At the TUC’s annual congress yesterday in Brighton motions from unions Prospect, the GMB and the National Union of Journalists condemned the “wrong-headed and unfair” decision.
Military veteran John McDonnell, 80 (no relation to the Shadow Chancellor), said his generation had earned their free TV licences. “I was 18 when I was called up,” he said. “And I come home got married, had a daughter. In 1956 they called me up and I went to Suez in that fiasco.
“I’m saying to everybody who’s over 75 – don’t pay for it, because John McDonnell won’t be paying it!”
Philippa Childs, head of media union Bectu, said: “Free TV licences are a welfare benefit and should be funded by the Government.”
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BreGMB boss Tim Roache said: “The BBC have been backed into a corner by a vicious Tory Government.”
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson added: “It’s a disgrace that this Tory Government is breaking the promise it made to pensioners. This cruel policy will leave millions of older people poorer and more isolated.”