Fareham MP Suella Braverman has urged the BBC to reverse it plans to remove free TV licences for over-75s and replace it with a means tested system.
In a letter to Lord Hall, Director General of the BBC, Mrs Braverman said she had “deep concerns” about the “drastic” proposals which would see a “huge lifeline” being removed from millions of people, including many of her own constituents, who rely on modest incomes to live.
Describing how television helps elderly people, Mrs Braverman wrote:
“We all know that elderly people are more susceptible to illness, loneliness, restricted mobility and disability, which means the ability to watch TV and remain entertained and informed in their homes is a huge lifeline. Further, most elderly people have modest incomes and rely on concessions such as the free TV licence so that their money can be used for other important things.”
The MP for Fareham also drew attention to the high pay of many BBC executives, which would make licence fee payers have an “understandable level of resentment” towards the organisation. She said:
“This also comes at a time when the senior management payroll at the BBC is in the tens of millions of pounds, with nearly 190 managers being paid over £100,000, and this of course does not include the many millions paid to presenters and other talent. When the general public, and particularly over-75s, consider this fact alongside the proposal to remove the free licence fee, then there will be an understandable level of resentment.
“I therefore urge you and the BBC to review this decision in the best interests of over-75s and indeed the BBC itself.”