We are completely opposed to the government’s attempt to deny older people aged 75+ the right to free access to BBC services.
This is a government decision which breaks their own Manifesto commitment. They should not be allowed to pass the buck on this to the BBC who have their own cuts and needs to consider but should instead take responsibility to maintain the support given by the state to help older people access transport, heating and TV.
As many older people are increasingly socially isolated the TV is often their main company and entertainment and it is cruel to remove this. Also the majority of pensioners live on under £11,500 per year, with millions actually in poverty therefore the amount they will need to find to pay for their licence will be a significant drain on their very limited resources, unlike the situation of those in government and Parliament for whom such an amount is a drop in the ocean.
We are also very opposed to the attempts by government and sections of the media and politicians to try to create an artificial division between the old and the young. Attacking the rights of the old will not lead to increasing the rights and benefits of the young. What is required is intergenerational solidarity so that those at both ends of the age spectrum – particularly the majority who are facing insecurity in income, housing, health and community facilities – are supported through an end to austerity, an increase in local services and increased wages and benefits for all.