Pensioners prepare to go to prison (over their televisions)
The government are facing calls to take back the responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over 75s.
More than 230,000 have signed a petition launched by Age UK for free television for the elderly to be protected.
The former pensions minister and Tory peer Ros Altman said the BBC shouldn’t have to “carry the can” for the £745m cost of the TV licences.
The BBC unveiled plans that free TV licences will now be means tested under a new scheme to protect programming whilst dealing with the extra funding burden.
Age UK said, “We believe this change will harm millions of older people who rely on their TV,” the charity’s petition states.
“Together, we must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences.”
Baroness Altman said the decision was “both understandable and wrong.”
The peer said in a letter to The Times, “Pensioner benefits should never have been outsourced to the BBC. Politicians introduced these perks and they should decide whether to maintain or abolish them.
“A public broadcaster whose budget cannot cover the £745m cost without severely cutting public services should not have to carry the can.
“Any reductions in benefits for the elderly should be decided by ministers in the context of overall pensioner provision, rather than by the BBC, which has no welfare benefit role.”