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Tom Watson brands BBC’s TV licence fee decision an ‘outrage’

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Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has hit out at the BBC after their announcement that over 75s will now be means tested over having to pay for a TV licence.

After a review Tony Hall the director general of the BBC said concessions will only be available to those who are receiving pension credit.

Watson reacted furiously to the BBC’s decision calling it an “outrage” and campaigners have warned the move will directly impact the “sick and disabled.”

Watson said, “It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for three million older people, leaving a Tory manifesto promise in tatters.

“I challenge all Tory leadership candidates to honour the commitment they made in 2017. You cannot means test for social isolation.

“You cannot means test for loneliness. Millions of elderly and isolated people will lose because of this announcement.”

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director said, “Make no mistake, if this scheme goes ahead we are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up.

“The BBC’s decision will cause those affected enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too, but in the end, this is the government’s fault, not the BBC’s.”

he National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has branded the decision to means-test licence fees “a wrongheaded act of sabotage by a government.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said, “Journalists and programme makers have borne the brunt of cuts at the BBC for many years and have simply had enough of the BBC being victim to political grandstanding.”

General secretary of the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) Jan Shortt said, “There is no doubt that the BBC has done the government’s dirty work for it.

“Pensioner poverty is now increasing, loneliness is reaching crisis levels among older people and the BBC has the bare-faced cheek to call this fair. It’s an absolute disgrace.”




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