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Age UK responds to Government's launch of a public consultation on whether to decriminalise TV Licence evasion

By: Age UK
Published on 05 February 2020 01:00 AM

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “In less than four months’ time, millions of very old people are set to lose their free TV licence, leaving a sizeable minority on low incomes with the possibility of having to forego the pleasure and companionship they get from watching TV. 

“The vast majority of older people are model citizens and one of our biggest worries is that some of the most vulnerable will inadvertently break the law, for example due to chronic ill health, because they will be unable to comply with any new charging regime put in place. Whether the legal consequences are criminal or civil is immaterial, their personal distress will be the same. In our view it is disgraceful to expose very old people to even the risk of this happening.

“Similarly, if you are a pensioner in the position of struggling to pay an extra £157.50 a year for a licence, being able to spread out your payments will not change the fact that the sum is simply unaffordable on your low fixed income. Nor does this alter the fact that an entitlement that has been in place for a generation is being taken away through a private deal made by the Government and the BBC, with no public consultation - a shameful way to proceed.

“Whatever the future of the licence fee and it’s enforcement may be, we call on the Government and the BBC to agree a solution for our over-75s that preserves their free licences, which mean so much to so many.” 

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Last updated: Feb 05 2024

Notes to editors:

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support.  It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high quality health and care; are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate.

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity)


For more information

Contact the Age UK Media team on 020 3033 1430 during office hours (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:30) or for out-of-hours media support please email 

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