GMB union protest at BBC over pensioner TV licence
21 June 2019

Members from the GMB North west & Irish region union gathered outside Media City in Salford, organised by regional political officer Neil Smith, in protest to the BBC announcement recently.

The BBC announced plans that will see free TV licences for those aged over 75 be axed, meaning pensioners including veterans, excluding those who receive pension credit, will now have to pay. The broadcaster was set to foot the bill for over 75s from 2020, but after a review said it would only be available for households receiving Pension Credit.

This announcement comes just a week on from the D-Day anniversary, where veterans were praised and celebrated, many have been left with the news they will now have to pay for their TV licences.

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GMB North West & Irish Region

From the Age Uk website -

Why means testing isn't the answer

Many people who are most in need of a free TV licence would lose it under a means-tested system.

The most in need often miss out

Under new plans, only older people who receive a benefit called Pension Credit ( will receive a free TV licence. But two fifths of people who are entitled to this benefit – about 1.2 million pensioners – aren't getting it. Some don't know they can claim, many struggle to apply and lots more feel embarrassed about needing help. These people are some of the poorest in our society.

People who are barely scraping by will suffer

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.

How will older people be affected?

Removing older people's access to TV would be an unthinkably cruel blow when many are already facing huge challenges. Quotes on this page are from real people who'd be affected by the decision. 

  • Half of all over 75s are living with a disability, and many rely on their TV for companionship and entertainment.

  • For those who don't have the internet, TV lets them stay up to date with what's happening in the world.

  • Nearly a third of over 75s are living in poverty or just above the poverty line. Paying a hefty extra bill would simply be impossible when they're barely scraping by as it is.

  • Our research shows that more than 2 million over 75s will have to go without TV or cut back on heating and food if free TV licences were scrapped.

GMB North West & Irish Region