Calderdale figures voice their opposition to licence fee cut for over 75s

Holly Lynch Halifax Labour MP
Holly Lynch Halifax Labour MP

Leading figures in Calderdale have voiced their opposition to the cut in free TV licences for millions of pensioners.

The Courier, with our sister titles across the North, is calling on the government to work with the BBC and reassure over-75s that they will still be entitled to free TV.

Age UK. Chief exec Lisa Butland.

Age UK. Chief exec Lisa Butland.

And leading figures in Calderdale have added their voices to those opposing the idea.

Halifax MP Holly Lynch said: “It’s appalling that the Conservatives have broken their promise made at the last election about free TV licences for pensioners.

“When they launched their manifesto at Dean Clough in 2017 they committed to keeping the licences free until 2022, so it’s shocking to now discover that many pensioners in Halifax will lose the equivalent of £154 a year.

“At the same time that Conservative leadership candidates are promising tax cuts for the rich, the Conservative Government has now delivered this hugely damaging welfare cut to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Coun Tim Swift.

Coun Tim Swift.

“I will be working alongside Labour MPs to fight this change all the way.”

Lisa Butland, chief executive of Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees, said: “TV can be really important for Older People with 2 in every 5 older people saying that the TV or radio is their main source of company.

“We were approached by a lady only last week who has a disability and cannot leave her home unaided, she has income below the tax threshold and was upset at the thought of losing her telly as she would struggle to pay the license fee.

“Age UK is the largest charity working with and for older people, we have a national petition which already has over half a million supporters he figure is constantly going up) including Ben Fogle and Ricky Tomlinson - you can help by signing up today on line or visit our shop in Woolshops, Halifax.”

Tim Swift, leader of Calderdale Council, said: “The Conservative party pledged to retain free TV licenses for the under 75s and it’s clear that they are now happy for this promise to be broken.

“They must not be allowed to get away with trying to put the blame on the BBC – this is just another example of how the Conservatives try to pass off responsibility for their cuts to others, instead of having the courage to take responsibility for their own actions.

“We know that mnay older people are unwilling to claim means tested benefits like Pension Credit. The Government should take responsibility for fully funding free licenses for the over 75s, who are more likely to be lonely and see TV as an important lifeline.”

READ MORE: We must keep TV licence fee free for our over 75s