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Switched Off - Save the free TV licence for over 75s

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The BBC has announced it is pressing ahead with plans to end free TV licences for all over-75s from 1st August.

This decision is a huge blow to older people. We want the UK Government to sit down with the BBC urgently to keep TV free for all over 75s.

Ask the BBC and UK Government to act before it's too late

The BBC and the Government must urgently sit down and find a solution that allows the free licence to continue.

What's happening?

Half of all over 75s say that their television is their main form of company. Right now, that’s under threat.

The BBC has announced they plan to means test TV licences for the over 75s. That means they'll only be free for people receiving Pension Credit. We believe this change will harm hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland who rely on their TV and the most vulnerable will be forced to cut back on essentials to make ends meet, or lose out on TV altogether. 

It’s time for the UK Government to step in and the BBC to step up to save free TV licences for over 75s.

The timing of this announcement is atrocious and it will be one of the last things older people want to hear right now. Life has been hard enough for them in recent months, now the lifeline of their TV could be taken away. Around 300,000 over 75s in Scotland will shortly be faced with a new bill to contend with.

Read our full reaction here

Are you entitled to Pension Credit? We can help you claim it

Pension Credit is a means tested benefit for people over State Pension age to help with the cost of living. If you have a low income and modest savings it can top your income up to a level set by the Government. Receiving Pension Credit can entitle you to other help with rent, energy and health costs too. Age Scotland's helpline advisers can assist you with a benefits and entitlements check to make sure you aren't missing out. Call on 0800 12 44 222.

Stay safe from TV licence scams

TV Licensing have now started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them to either pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one.

The letter TV Licensing sends will include your licence number, your title and your last name and they will only ask you to pay using the following options:

  • By post using the address TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington DL98 1AN.
  • Online at tvl.co.uk/75pay or tvl.co.uk/75apply
  • Over the phone on 0300 790 615.

If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence using a different phone number, a different website or by posting your details to a different address, this is a scam.

TV Licensing will not come to your doorstep to collect the licence fee if you are over 75, so anyone who claims to do so is also a scammer.

If you’re unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695 to speak with someone who can help.

Read our advice about how to spot a TV Licence scam and what to do if you have been a victim.

Protect yourself from scams

Anyone can fall for a scam, regardless of their age or health. However, older people can be at a greater risk of falling for a scam than younger people. Find out more about spotting scams and what to do about them.

Why means testing isn't the answer

Many people who are most in need of a free TV licence would lose it under a means-tested system. 

The most in need often miss out

Under new plans, only older people who receive a benefit called Pension Credit will receive a free TV licence. But two fifths of people who are entitled to this benefit – about 100,000 pensioners in Scotland – aren't getting it. Some don't know they can claim, many struggle to apply and lots more feel embarrassed about needing help. These people are some of the poorest in our society. 

People who are barely scraping by will suffer

Lots of older people have struggled throughout their working life to save a little extra for retirement. But that small pot of savings for a rainy day means they don't qualify for means-tested benefits. Others are coping with the costs of ill-health or disability. Taking their free TV licence away is a cruel blow. 

How will older people be affected?

Removing older people's access to TV would be an unthinkably cruel blow when many are already facing huge challenges.

  • Half of all over 75s are living with a disability, and many rely on their TV for companionship and entertainment.
  • For those who don't have the internet, TV lets them stay up to date with what's happening in the world.
  • Nearly a third of over 75s are living in poverty or just above the poverty line. Paying a hefty extra bill would simply be impossible when they're barely scraping by as it is.
  • Age UK research shows that more than 2 million over 75s will have to go without TV or cut back on heating and food if free TV licences were scrapped.


Get involved: We can still save free TV Licences for over 75s

Tell us how this will affect you: Email us at communications@agescotland.org.uk

Email the BBC and UK Government today: Click here to ask them to save the free TV licence and tell them what it means to you

Share on Facebook: Click here to share the campaign

Tweet the BBC and UK Government: Ask them to act now

Hundreds of thousands of over-75s in Scotland will lose their free #TVLicence unless @10DowningStreet & the @BBC act now. They should sit down & save free TV. Join me & @agescotland to make sure older people don't lose out on 1 August #SwitchedOff www.age.scot/switchedoff

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