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Switch It On Again

Age UK Switched Off Campaign Members holding up signs

Published on 03 September 2020 04:05 PM

“It seems incredible to me that the government won’t further extend the term of the free TV licence for the over-75s. Imagine having to struggle to find £157 to watch the TV to find out what is happening with Covid, not to mention how lonely some people will be without their TV for company. It’s just not on.

I’m lucky. I still have my salary and I can afford my licence. I’ve been working from home and I haven’t spent a lot on travel over the past few months, so I’ve decided to spend some of those savings on making it possible for an older person to keep the TV switched on. I’m donating £160 to help pay for a licence.

I know Age UK Notts will make sure the donation ends up supporting the people who need it the most. I hope the government and the BBC will do the right thing and change their minds.”

The free TV licence for people aged 75+ was introduced in November 2000 as a government funded benefit. In 2015, the government transferred responsibility for funding the benefit to the BBC. If there’s no money in the first place, it’s hard to find the £3 per week to save up for the TV licence and a lot of older people are now very frightened that their TV will have to be switched off and stay off. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some are falling prey to scams and being robbed of what precious few resources they have.

The TV licence will remain free for people in receipt of Pension Credit, but many older people don’t know about this benefit and so don’t claim it. Please make sure your older friends and relatives know about this and encourage them to make contact with us so we can check their eligibility for this and a whole range of other benefits. Call us on 0115 844 0011 for advice and support. Not only will they receive a free tv licence, they could also be hundreds (maybe even thousands) of pounds better off each year.

People do not need to pay for your TV licence until they receive the official letter, and there are options for those who want to spread the cost. The implementation of the new scheme is also Covid-19 safe. No one will need to leave their home to claim a free TV licence or pay for one; they can apply online or talk to one of our advisers who will take the customer through the verbal declaration process.

The letter gives information about applying for a free licence for those receiving Pension Credit and the payment options that will be available for those who will need to buy a licence. This includes the new 75+ Plan which will allow people over 75 to switch from a free licence to a licence they pay for, to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments to make it easier to manage. However, no one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have received their letter.

Thanks to our anonymous donor, we will be able to help a few of the people struggling the most but there will be many more out there who will feel alone and afraid. If you’d like to make a donation too, please check out our Donate page. Please be sure to mark your donation with ‘TV Licence Fund’.

Thank you.