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, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 10:21 am
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.

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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.”