BLAENAU Gwent MP Nick Smith has revealed data which shows that scrapping free TV licences would cost over-75s in Blaenau Gwent a combined total of more than £700k a year.

New research from the Labour Party shows that changes to free TV licences for over-75s will cost local pensioners hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. This comes as the BBC’s consultation on the future of free TV Licences for over-75s closes tomorrow (February 12).

Millions of older people across the UK could lose their TV licence in 2020 despite the Conservatives’ 2017 manifesto promise to protect free TV licences until 2022.

As part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

New research by the Labour Party shows that, if free TV licences are scrapped completely it will cost over-75s in Blaenau Gwent a combined total of £701,330 a year.

If free TV licences are linked to Pension Credit, altogether Blaenau Gwent’s oldest citizens will have to pay a total of £463,540 a year.

By outsourcing responsibility for paying for free TV licences, this Government will be saving £745m across the UK in 2021/22. This is in addition to the £220 million the Government will be saving that same year through changes to pension credit.

Nick Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent said: “The fact that elderly people could lose their free TV licences makes a mockery of Theresa May’s claim that austerity is over. The Government should take responsibility and keep TV licences free for the over-75s.

“Almost a billion pounds of costs would be offloaded onto our oldest citizens in a single year, through this Government scrapping free TV licences and changing pension credit. This is another Tory policy that punishes pensioners.

“This Tory Government is picking pensioners’ pockets. The Government should urgently reconsider and keep TV licences free for the over-75s.”

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