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Anger as pensioners to lose free TV licence

THE announcement that the majority of over 75s are soon to be stripped of their free TV licence has been branded an “additional levy to many hard pressed pensioners”. 
The changes are expected to come into force from June next year. From then the BBC is believed to be restricting free licences to over 75s who claim pension credit, and described this as “the fairest and best outcome”. 
When the rules change it is understood to remain eligible for a free TV licence one person from a low-income household must be in receipt of pension credit benefit.
The current annual licence fee for a colour TV is £154.50 and a local MLA has urged the BBC to reconsider the move to add an additional levy on to pensioners. 
Local UUP representative Rosemary Barton called on the BBC to reconsider their decision to scrap automatic free TV licences for over 75s.
She said, “In areas like Fermanagh many of our older people live in isolation, where the TV is one of the only points of contact they have with the outside world.
“In the consultation responses 48 percent said they were in favour of retaining the over 75s concession and only 15 percent supported the scrapping of the support for the older people.
“While the BBC provide a valuable service to society, I believe that instead of adding this additional levy to many hard pressed pensioners the BBC could look at other options for savings within their organisation. 
“I’m sure there are opportunities to review many aspects and make savings that can assist with the elderly in our community.”
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA