This week, Age UK along with older people over 75, delivered its 634,334 strong #Switched Off petition to No 10 Downing Street and urged the new Prime Minister to intervene and take back responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over 75s.
The Charity launched its online #Switched Off petition ‘Save free TV licences for older people’ when the BBC launched its consultation on the future of free TV licences for the over-75s in November 2018. The petition was set up by Age UK alongside the UK’s major pensioner groups: the National Pensioner’s Convention, the Civil Service Pensioners Alliance, the National Association of Retired Police Officers, the NHS Retirement Fellowship and Silver Voices, between them, representing hundreds of thousands of UK pensioners.
Over four-fifths (83 per cent) of those polled by Age UK – equivalent to over 42 million people – believe the Conservative Party should keep its manifesto pledge to fund free TV licences for the over-75s until 2022.
Since its introduction in 2000, the free TV licence has been a highly valued, universal entitlement for the over-75s which has helped millions to sustain their quality of life into late old age.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
“Today we presented Age UK’s #Switched Off petition to No 10, backed by 634,334 people who are telling the Government to save free TV licences for over 75s.
“Free television when you’re older is more than just a box in the corner of the room – it’s a lifeline for millions, especially those who are living alone and with health problems or disability. We presented our new Prime Minister with just a taster of how older people feel about this. Older people have told us, even begged us to speak out on their behalf and fight their corner.
“We call on our new Prime Minister to listen to the staggering number of people of all ages who truly believe the funding of TV licences firmly rests with the Government and not the BBC. We ask him to intervene and abide by the last Conservative manifesto pledge to keep free TV licences for the over 75s.”