Hundreds of constituents have written to me, opposing the ending of free TV licenses for everyone aged over 75.
Many point out that the decision was made in the same week that we honoured the bravery of our elders at D-Day and throughout the war.
The last Labour government’s decision to give a free TV license to all over 75’s was part of a response to soaring pensioner poverty, with almost 3 million – 28% of pensioners living in poverty by 1997.
Their introduction of Pension Credit, the Winter Fuel Allowance and Free Bus passes for pensioners contributed to pensioner poverty falling by over half to just 13% of pensioners.
But since 2010, cuts to Pension Credit and other benefits have led to 300,000 more pensioners now living in poverty.
Increasing costs of care at home, heating bills rising whilst the Winter Fuel Allowance was cut, and cuts to local services such as buses mean it’s more expensive for all older people to get by.
Watching television can be a lifeline for very elderly people, connecting them to the outside world when they are too frail to go out, or can’t afford to.
People aged over 75 and claiming Pension Credit will still be able to claim their free TV licence. But it’s estimated that around 40% of people who are eligible don’t claim.
There will be many reasons for this – they may not know they’re eligible, may not feel up to the process, or – like many in the older generation – not want to claim anything.
This was why the last Labour government gave all pensioners bus passes, Winter Fuel Allowance and the TV licence. It took away the perceived stigma and helped millions more pensioners to feel they could switch on the heating when they were cold, keep a TV, and take a bus out.
If you or someone they know may be entitled to Pension Credit, do claim it. It just takes a free phone call to 0800 99 1234.
Around 1,000 pensioners in High Peak are missing out on an average £250 a month – it would make a big difference when you’re on a low income and help in other ways.
At the moment, people on Pension Credit can access the County Council’s telecare service for free, but that’s ending on 1 November for new applicants. Even those on very low incomes will have to pay unless they meet the care criteria.
And if your partner is under Pension Age you won’t be able to claim Pension Credit after 15th August, so there’s many reasons to do it now.
Looking after the older generation who gave so much to our country is one of the most important things we can do.