Free for all or means tested? What Northumberland said about free TV licences for over-75s

Families across Northumberland have been having their say on the future of the TV licence.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 11:21 am
Do you think TV licences for over 75s should be free?
Do you think TV licences for over 75s should be free?

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticised plans by the BBC which would see free TV licences for over-75s restricted to only those on pension credit, we asked you to share your views.

More than 1,700 people voted in a poll on the Northumberland Gazette Facebook page and, at time of writing, 90% voted that TV licences should be free for all over-75s.

Mr Johnson called on the BBC to "cough up" and fund free TV licences for all over-75s.

The Tory election manifesto in 2017 pledged to protect free licences – but the broadcaster said it cannot afford to foot the bill.

Changing the benefit would strip millions of pensioners of their free licences.

Some Gazette readers called to the licence to be scrapped altogether in favour of a new scheme, while others called for it to be means tested.

Here’s what you had to say on the Northumberland Gazette Facebook page:

Morag Joyce: “Is it fair that a wealthy pensioner with £50k in the bank & a very hefty monthly income gets a free licence the same a pensioner as a pensioner living off only their basic state pension and a small amount of savings.”

Paul Mclaren: “Subscriptions as every other broadcaster does.”

John Grenfell: “The Government provided the free TV licences for the elderly. Now that group are again being punished for the failures of the same government's financial policies. “

Lesley Wakenshaw: “A lot of over-75s depend on their TV for company, sometimes they have nothing else to do or are housebound and unable to get out and about … no matter how much money they have or don't have surely they deserve at least a tv licence for free … surely!”

Joanna Denise Spooner: “To be fair, the TV is utter cobblers nowadays, and programmes are often enough to make you weep.”

Duncan Macrae: “Everybody should. Just make the BBC take adverts.”

Phil Hopper: “I think it should be means-tested for over-75s, so that those with tons sitting in the bank aren't subsidised.”