Pensioner says she'll 'go to jail' over BBC TV licence fee
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With inflation surging and fears Britain is set to be plunged into a cost of living crisis, the Government is facing renewed calls to reinstate the perk. Ministers are thought to be considering a two-year freeze of the £159 fee.
The BBC and Government are currently in discussions over the cost of the licence for 2022 until 2027.
The talks are set to end later this month with ministers looking at how to continue to fund high-quality broadcast but help out households in the face of increased costs.
But the Government is facing accusations of not being ambitious enough.
Campaigners are calling on ministers to also push for the reinstatement of free TV licences for over-75s.
Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices, told Express.co.uk: “The Government seems to be caving in to the BBC if the only concession they are demanding is a two year freeze on the licence fee of £159 per year.
“£159 is more than the weekly state pension for millions of older people and is frankly unaffordable when energy and food prices are rising so quickly and when the triple lock has been suspended.
“On many occasions, ministers and Conservative MPs have expressed ‘extreme disappointment’ at the BBC for scrapping the free licence scheme and have called on the BBC ‘to do more’ to help the over 75s.
“Why then are they not demanding the reinstatement of the free licence scheme as a price for the continuation of the TV licence system?
“Nadine Dorries is supposed to be a hardliner on these issues but she won’t even meet us.
“Is this another issue where the Government talks big, but does not deliver?”
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With the Government breaking its manifesto commitment on the state pension triple lock, Mr Reed has warned many retirees are losing faith in the conservatives.
He told Express.co.uk the Tories risked alienating their voter base unless they fixed the problems facing pensioners.
The free TV licence for over-75s was first introduced by Gordon Brown in 2000.
In 2015, responsibility for funding the perk was passed onto the BBC.
However, since last summer only over-75s in receipt of pension credit have been allowed to claim a free licence.
The broadcaster says that restricting free licences to over-75s who claim Pension Credit was “the fairest and best outcome”.
The Government remains of the position it is an issue for the BBC to fix.
Mr Johnson has previously said the broadcaster should “cough up” and cover the cost.
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