Today in parliament John Woodcock MP is presenting a petition on behalf of Barrow and Furness constituents calling for the government to take back responsibility for funding TV licences for the over 75s. This follows the announcement that the free TV licences would be withdrawn for this age group from May 2020.
For many older people, television is their main source of news, entertainment and information and provides a vital link to the outside world.
In Barrow and Furness there are around 1,915 households who are entitled to, but not claiming, pension credit, which means that they will not be able to claim a free licence.
The petition is presented on behalf of Barrow and Furness constituents Gemma Humes and Margie Arts, and has received 564 signatures: indicating widespread support in the area for this issue.
Mr Woodcock said: “Many older pensioners are on a limited budget and paying a full TV licences places an additional burden on household budgets that are already strained. I stand behind my constituents’ call for the government to take back responsibility for providing free TV licences for the most vulnerable in our communities.
“I would like to thank my constituents for their hard work in raising awareness, supporting this important cause and helping to take the fight to Westminster.”
Gemma Humes said: “I think it is great that the majority of people support this. I do feel if this support were to be withdrawn it could contribute to mental health issues and there could possibly be more suicides due to reduction in mental health and wellbeing.
“As a hospital worker I see many elderly and vulnerable people, who may be lonely and missing out on human interaction, meaning that they actually try to stay in hospital for longer.
“I hope that Parliament will help, and the government will take back responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over-75s.”