Petition to abolish TV licence to be debated in parliament after reaching 136,000 signatures

A petition calling for the TV licence to be abolished has reached over 136,000 signatures.
A petition calling for the TV licence to be abolished has reached over 136,000 signatures.

A petition calling for the TV licence to be abolished has reached over 136,000 signatures.

The petition, which was started just before Christmas, smashed its target of 100,000 signatures yesterday, after the BBC announced that free TV licences for over-75s will be means tested from 2020.

READ MORE: This is how many pensioners in Mansfield will lose their free TV licence

239 people from Nottingham North have signed the petition.

The controversial move has drawn criticism from campaigners, who say that television is the main form of company for over a million of the oldest people in our country,

Nottingham North's MP, Alex Norris branded the policy a 'betrayal', and said he will campaign for the policy to be stopped.

Mr Norris said: "The Government not standing by their manifesto promise to maintain free TV licenses for all over-75s is a betrayal of our older citizens, who deserve dignity in retirement and reward for their hard work.

"Many older people in Nottingham North will be left feeling isolated and alone. Means-testing may sound fair but in reality, it means at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners facing a big new annual bill they simply can’t afford.

“I will be campaigning to stop this from happening and for the Government to stand by the promise that it made to the electorate in 2017.”

READ MORE: Age UK launch petition to save free TV licence for over 75s

Charity Age UK branded the policy a 'cruel move', saying: "Lots of older people have struggled throughout their working life to save a little extra for retirement.

"But that small pot of savings for a rainy day means they don't qualify for means-tested benefits.

"Others are coping with the costs of ill-health or disability. Taking their free TV licence away is a cruel blow."

READ MORE: Ashfield MP blasts proposals to scrap free TV licences for over-75s as ‘scandalous’

Households without anyone who receives Pension Credit will have to pay for a TV license under the new policy.

It is thought that around 3.7 million households across the UK will now have to pay the fee, with around 1.5 million eligible for a free license under the new scheme.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said that the move was "not an easy decision", but argued that the policy was fair.

He said: "Whilst we know that pensioner incomes have improved since 2000, we also know that for some the TV licence is a lot of money.

The government will now debate the petition in parliament, and a date for the debate is due to be announced tomorrow.

The petition, started by Jane Mackinnon, states: "The quality of BBC programmes do not reflect the price of the TV licence. It is far too expensive for the majority of people and should be abolished."

Any petition that reaches 100,000 signatures will be debated in parliament.

Tory PM hopeful Esther McVey spoke out against the criminalisation of non-payment, tweeting: "The BBC has abandoned its promise to give free TV licences to over 75s. Now, millions of pensioners could be arrested for failing to pay fines.

"As PM I’d decriminalise non-payment of the BBC TV licence for all"

You can view the petition here: Abolish the BBC television licence