Doncaster residents reveal their views on the new TV licence fees for over 75s

From June 2020 a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone over 75 who receives Pension Credit. We asked our guest panelists: Should TV licences be free for all over 75s. Here’s what they had to say.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 7:04 pm
Should all over 75's get free television licences

Hatfield town councillor Mick Glynn says – Pesonally I would like to see anyone who gets to pension age receive a free TV licence.

In addition, I believe pensioners should get many other benefits, especially if they have diligently paid into the system their entire lives. The BBC should scrap the television licence anyway, it’s out of its time. Also, this doesn’t create a level playing field as public money funds the station and it creates unfair competition, as other stations have to rely on people signing up with them and paying that way. The BBC has become a dinosaur. It’s never been reassessed or refreshed. At the very least, pensioners should be exempt from paying a licence fee. Besides, making the over 75s pay for a licence could lead to apathy about and contempt towards the BBC. And besides, do we get value for money from them – no!

Former Edlington Mayor, Frank Arrowsmith, said – Anyone over 75 should be entitled to a free TV licence.

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Hatfield town councillor, Mick Glynn.

If I may draw a parallel – it’s only recently that we celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day and its veterans. We treat them with respect and quite rightly so. But I believe that the veterans of society, many of whom have worked in industry and contributed to their country’s wealth, should also be treated with respect. Making them pay for a television licence is not treating them with respect. It’s chipping away at people’s rights and could be the start of a slippery slope. Even if the Government had to subsidise this it wouldn’t be a great drain on the national purse. I feel that the BBC has made a big PR blunder in deciding to do this and effectively attacking the weakest in society. It could lead to its downfall. I’ve supported it all my life but no longer.

Hatfield councillor Bill Morrison said – I believe that television licences should be free to all pensioners.

I believe it’s an out-dated way to pay for viewing programmes and it should be abolished. It seems there are more and more television and radio stations and they all have to be paid for. We don’t need them all. In other European countries they really look after the elderly population. We could learn a lot from these countries and not just think about getting more money out of people who are not in a position to pay. Most people who work beyond pension age are usually on low incomes and many do it out of necessity. Is it fair to make them pay even more? This is the thin end of the wedge and it leaves me wondering what they will ask pensioners to pay for next – perhaps prescriptions come next. It could lead to even greater erosion of people’s pensions.

Publicity officer and marketing for Doncaster Little Theatre, Yve Robinson said – If some over 75s are made to pay for a TV licence when they can’t really afford to and it leads to social isolation, then that is wrong.

Frank Arrowsmith

But this is a tricky one, as people pay for all kinds of TV services these days and do so quite willingly. Where do you draw the line? People complain about the BBC, but they seem quite willing to pay for Sky TV, Netflix and such like. In addition, a reliable TV service needs to be there in times of emergency. It would be useful to see some figures of how many would lose out if the over 75s had to pay for a TV licence and how much money this would make. There has to be a good reason for wanting to do this. I agree with the licence fee, but only for those who can afford to pay. I suspect the vast majority of over 75s couldn’t afford this. If you can pay then pay, but otherwise subsidise the fee.

Hatfield Councillor Bill Morrison
Yve Robinson, publicity officer and marketing for Doncaster Little Theatre