My letter to our Conservative MP Paul Maynard urging him to keep his manifesto pledge and fund free tv licences for older people.
368 Talbot Road,
I’m writing to you about yesterday’s news report that revealed the extent of scrapping the free over-75 TV license amongst our veterans and ex-service people. You will recall that in 2017 we both stood on manifesto pledges to continue funding free TV licenses for older people, a pledge that your government - and successive Prime Ministers to whom you have pledged support - have already walked back on.
You will be as aware as I am, that this is one of the most important issues effecting our over-75s. This decision means that from next June 3.7 million people will be handed a bill that many will struggle to afford. Locally, over 8,000 households will lose yet another of their vital lifelines, taking over £1.3 million pounds out of the pocket of pensioners across Blackpool and Thornton-Cleveleys.
To make matters worse, we now hear that over 900,000 of our roughly 1.1 million military veterans will be hit by this callous attempt to pickpocket £154.40 from them annually. Over 100,000 of these brave ex-service men and women are aged 90 or above. These are people in our community, on our streets. These are people who in many cases risked their lives for our safety and security, and who you and your party promised in your last manifesto would see this valuable allowance protected.
I would remind you that TV and radio can be so much more than the programmes people tune into, also providing comfort and companionship, a familiar voice and a window on a world they may now struggle to be a daily part of. TV and radio can help to combat loneliness and help those who your government have left needlessly on the fringes of our society that they are not on their own.
That this heartless government-sanctioned cut is now being visited on those who have given so much for us, to save a little bit of money, is simply wrong. It was a political decision to offer the free TV licence to our older people and therefore should be the government that continues to fund it, not passing the financial burden onto a broadcaster. That’s why I’m urging you to break away from your government and keep your pledge to the people of Blackpool North and Cleveleys.
Our older people deserve better, especially after enduring almost a decade of your government’s funding cuts and a commitment to austerity that has effected so many services they rely on, from bus services and libraries to the NHS and social care. Our most vulnerable people are being left to fend for themselves, and they deserve better, and as somebody who grew up in the local community I know first-hand how they have been left to suffer since 2010.
I, and your constituents, await your reply to this most pressing of issues.