WITH the BBC announcing that free TV licences for the over-75s is set to become a means-tested benefit, Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has slammed the Conservative Party for failing to honour its promise.

During the 2017 election the Conservative Party promised that a future Tory Government would keep TV licences free for the over-75s.

Then, as part of the last BBC Charter, the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, as well as the cost, to the BBC.

The BBC has now announced that the TV licence concession for over-75s will be linked to Pension Credit, meaning that in Blaenau Gwent 3,080 over-75s are set to lose out, costing a collective £463,540 annually.

Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith, who has spoken out about this issue in Parliament previously, said: “40% of older people say the television is their main source of company. You cannot means-test for social isolation or loneliness, both of which are on the rise among the elderly.

“This is another ruthless welfare cut for the most vulnerable in our society.

“It’s outrageous that this Government has offloaded responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over-75s to the BBC, especially given the promises made two years ago.

“We should not be picking the pockets of elderly people, they deserve better.”

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