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More than 10,000 to lose free television licences

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MORE than 10,000 households could lose their free TV licences in Warrington if the plan to link the concession for Over 75s is linked to Pension Credit goes ahead – and both the town’s MPs have slammed the Government over it.
Warrington North MP Helen Jones puts the figure in her constituency at 4,370 while her Warrington South colleague Faisal Rashid says it is 5,700 in his.
Ms Jones said: “This is another ruthless welfare cut for the most vulnerable in our society and it is appalling that this government is trying to offload responsibility for funding licences onto the BBC, just as Boris Johnson is talking about tax cuts for the rich.
“Around 1.3 million poorer Over 75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not claim it. They will lose their free TV licences under a means tested system. I
t is likely that over 1.5 million pensioners living alone will lose their free licence in a means tested system. Here in Warrington North 4,370 households could lose their free TV licence at a cost of £667,685.
“You cannot means test for social isolation or loneliness.
Mr Rashid said four out of 10 pensioners described TV as their “main company” so restricting access to the benefit would deepen loneliness across the country.
In Warrington South, the changes would cost a total of £863,870.
He added: “It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for nearly 6,000 households in my constituency – yet another broken Tory manifesto promise made to the people of Warrington South.
“According to Age UK, nearly a third of over 75s are living in poverty or just above the poverty line. If the free Over 75s TV licence is scrapped, finding the money needed to pay for this additional bill will be impossible for those struggling to make ends meet. At a time when social isolation and loneliness is on the rise, this could mean the loss of their main form of company.
“I consulted my constituents about these changes earlier this year. One told me that: ‘It is often the only company that I have, and I feel as though if it were to be scrapped then it will be penalising those who have already contributed many years towards the country’”.

MP Helen Jones

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