Personal Finance

'There's no protection!' Pensioners scramble to find £159 for TV Licence amid prison fears

Dennis Reed, from the campaign group Silver Voices, has told that despite the comments from Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries on Twitter at the weekend, there have been no promises that the TV Licence fee will indeed be abolished. He said pensioners are still being asked to find £159 they can’t afford and being threatened with prison if they don’t pay.

Reports that the BBC licence fee is set to be frozen for two years until 2024 and then axed completely from 2027 have been circulating for the last couple of days but a campaigner said he thinks it’s all “a load of hot air”.

In a Tweet on Sunday, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote: “This licence fee announcement will be the last.

“The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.”

In the House of Commons yesterday she confirmed that the £159 BBC licence fee would be frozen for two years, before looking at alternative ways to fund the corporation.

READ MORE: Carer’s Allowance: Unpaid carers missing out on 3,515 a year

He continued: “There’s no protection for the over 75s who are currently getting enforcement notices.”

A TV licence is compulsory in the UK for people who watch live television, record programmes to watch later or use a streaming service such as BBC iPlayer.

Over 75s used to get it for free but all that changed in August 2020 when the BBC announced it would no longer be automatically free for everyone that age.

Instead it declared that over 75s would only be eligible for a free TV licence if they qualified for Pension Credit.

Unfortunately, pensioners are the most likely generation to miss out on benefits, Mr Reed said, suggesting they are often too proud to claim state benefits.

However, more could be done to encourage them if Pension Credit was described as a top up rather than a state benefit, he said.

How much is a TV Licence in the UK?

  • The fee is £159 for a year which can be split into monthly payments.
  • It’s free for pensioners on Pension Credit, and half price for people who are blind or who have a sight impairment.
  • Meanwhile, it’s £7.50 for individuals who live in a care home.


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