By Rosie Duffield MP / Press Releases / 0 Comments

New figures revealed by the Labour Party suggest that 83,997 over-75s living with dementia in the South East could lose their free TV licence next year.

Maintaining free TV licences for over-75s was a 2017 Conservative Party Manifesto Commitment, yet universal free TV licences for over 75s are being scrapped from next year.

As part of the BBC charter renewal process the Conservatives forced the BBC to take on the cost of free TV licences and therefore as of next year, only those in receipt of Pension Credit will receive a free TV licence, meaning that 3.7 million older people will lose out across the country.

Just 19% of over 75s are currently in receipt of pension credit, meaning 81% of all over 75s are likely to lose their TV licence.

Free TV licences are an important benefit for older people who suffer disproportionately from loneliness and social isolation. Four in ten older people say the television is their main source of company.

Those no longer eligible for free TV licences will need to apply and pay for a TV licence, and could be criminalised for failing to do so.

Applying for a TV licence could be a challenge for many older people, particularly for those living with dementia.

Rosie Duffield MP, the local MP for Canterbury, Whitstable and surrounding villages said:

“I’m horrified by the news of Conservative plans to strip older people of their free TV licenses. Television, for many older people, does not just provide entertainment but comfort and companionship. Older people often struggle with isolation; this can worsen conditions such as dementia. This plan belies a disregard for the concerns of older people and betrays a callousness toward those who have worked and contributed to this country throughout their lives. I am calling for an immediate halt to this policy.”


Estimates provided by the House of Commons Library are below:

According to the House of Commons Library 19% of people aged 75 or over in Great Britain are on Pension Credit (1,046,833 claimants or partners of claimants, out of a total population aged 75 and over of 5,379,054 in 2018).

From this Labour has made the estimates included in the below table of how many over 75s suffering from dementia in each region will lose their free TV licence.

By emmalabourrosieadminuser1 / Press Releases / / 0 Comments

A Kent County Council report from February has revealed that 34.7% of children from Northgate ward, Canterbury, are from low income families. Kent Online has since revealed that this makes it the eighth worst area for poverty in the county, with higher rates of poverty than any of the London boroughs. Though eight of the ten highest wards of children from low income families are coastal areas, Northgate is one of the two exceptions. As a result, the Canterbury Society is hosting a meeting to discuss what action can be taken.

Rosie Duffield, M.P. for Canterbury​, says: ‘The report from Kent County Council uncovers the shocking levels of poverty in the Canterbury district. After years of austerity, we need local jobs, paying the Real Living Wage, to push people out of poverty and raise living standards. It has long been known that child poverty exists on our doorstep, but with the recent revelations that this is worse than the London boroughs, we need to see swift action immediately. Time and time again, I hear from families who are struggling, who feel helpless in the face of an inhumane welfare system, further pushing them into the cycle of poverty.’

Alan Baldock, Councillor for Northgate Ward and Leader of the Labour Group​, says: ‘I’ve lived in Northgate all my life. For too long, life has proven to be a struggle for so many families living in the area. I, along with the rest of the Labour Group, despair that nothing ever seems to get better. Time and time again, we see this and it is always the same, with poor housing and insecure employment blighting the lives of so many families.’

For more information, please contact ​[email protected]