Two SNP councillors who have previously criticised the UK Government for failing to maintain free TV licences for over 75s have condemned the Government for hiking TV licences as the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions continue.
The annual TV licence fee has now increased by £1.50, from £157.50 to £159 – 9 months after free TV licences for over-75s ended and became available only to people in receipt of Pension Credit.
Figures show that in 2018/19, almost 40% of entitled pensioners aged 75 and over did not claim Pension Credit – meaning they could have missed out on £1700 a year and a free TV licence.
In Scotland, there are approximately 251,000 people over the age of 75 in Scotland impacted by the cuts that are not claiming Pension Credit.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren said: “After seeing free TV licences scrapped for the over 75s in the middle of a pandemic the Tories have hit another new low by hiking the price of them as necessary Coronavirus restrictions continue.
“The abject failure of the Tories at Westminster to protect free TV licences for the over 75s shows why Scotland must have full powers over broadcasting – so we can restore and retain free vital television services for older people.
Councillor Stephen Burns said: “The issue at the forthcoming election is this: who do we trust to secure a fair recovery for Scotland? The SNP has already prioritised action to boost pension credit uptake and mitigated callous Tory policies such as the bedroom tax while the Tories bulldozed ahead with cuts to Universal Credit and sat on their hands over protecting free TV licences.
“The only way to ensure a fair and equal Scotland and put our recovery in our hands – not Boris Johnson’s – is with both votes for the SNP on 6th May.”
Main Image: Cllr Stephen Burns