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MP to lead debate on free TV licences for over 75s

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WARRINGTON North MP Helen Jones – chairman of the Parliamentary petitions committee – is to lead the debate on free-TV licences for over 75s on Monday.
She has already met people in Warrington likely to be affected by changes to funding for TV licences for over 75s
The MP heard directly from residents in Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub, many of who signed the petition Continue to fund free TV licences for the over 75 in the future, which has almost 172,000 signatures.
Two other petitions relating to the BBC – Abolish the BBC television licence and Public inquiry into the bias in the BBC will also be debated.
Ms Jones said “As chair of the Petitions Committee, I want to make sure that our work reflects what the people who petition Parliament think and feel. That is why getting out of Westminster and hearing from the people of Warrington was so important. I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts with me
“I heard concerns about this potentially creating a new route for fraudsters to target vulnerable older people and how people in care homes could be affected.
“I will put people’s concerns to the Government and they will have to answer.”
The petition about free TV licences for over 75s has more than 171,000 signatures states: “Removing them will only penalize the poorest old age pensioners, many of whom rely on their television for company and their main source of entertainment.”
In response to the petition, the Government said: “The Government is clear that the future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020.”
The petition calling for the TV licence to be abolished has more than 246,000 signatures and states: “The quality of BBC programmes do not reflect the price of the TV licence. It is far too expensive for the majority of people and should be abolished.”
In response to the petition, the Government said: “A television licence is required to watch or receive television as it is broadcast live or on BBC iPlayer. The licence fee is payment for a licence to watch or receive television programmes. It is not a fee or charge for BBC services and is payable regardless of whether the licence holder ever watches the BBC.”
The petition calling for a public inquiry into bias in the BBC has more than 105,000 signatures, and states: “The impartiality of the BBC is in question and needs addressing so as to protect its charter.”
In response to the petition, the Government said: “The BBC has a duty to deliver impartial, accurate news coverage and content under its Charter. Perceived editorial bias at the BBC is a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator, not government.”
Monday’s debate will provide an opportunity for MPs to question a Government Minister directly on these topics.

* Watch the debate live online: https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons or https://www.youtube.com/UKParliament
* Read the debate transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-07-15/

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