The Tories’ free TV licence betrayal of over-75s could backfire and cost the Treasury £855million more every year as campaigners encourage OAPs to sign up for Pension Credits.
From today only those over 75 and receiving the credit will get the benefit, which will leave an
estimated 3.7 million OAPs £157.50 out of pocket every year.
The Government thought that forcing the BBC to fund the lifeline would save them £745m a year, but Office for Budget Responsibility figures show the amount of unclaimed pension credits stands at £1.6billion annually.
The increased costs from more claims could mean the Government pays out an extra £855m every year.
Age UK are encouraging an estimated 590,000 eligible over-75s to claim the Pension Credit, which is means-tested, they are due.
The BBC says keeping licences free for all over-75s would mean closing BBC2, BBC4, the BBC News Channel, BBC Scotland and Radio 5 Live.
Caroline Abrahams, of charity Age UK said successful claimants “could find themselves £2,000 better off a year”.
Over-75s have been entitled to a free TV licence since 2000.
The BBC is being forced to restrict the benefit to people on Pension Credit after the Tories broke a 2017 manifesto promise to keep licences free.
We reported how pensioners took to the streets yesterday to protest the move.
A Downing Street spokesman said the BBC “must now look at how it can use its income to deliver for all ages by making efficiencies.”