Arran’s MP Patricia Gibson has condemned the UK Tory Government – to which such powers are reserved – for increasing TV licence fees as the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions continue.
The annual TV licence has been increased by £1.50, from £157.50 to £159 just nine months after free TV licences for over-75s ended and became available only to people in receipt of Pension Credit.
This has cost Scottish pensioners almost £41 million over the last year.
Almost 40% of entitled pensioners aged 75 and over did not claim Pension Credit, meaning they could have missed out on extra income and housing support, as well as a free TV licence.
On Arran an estimated 250 people over the age of 75 are not in receipt of Pension Credit, an issue that Mrs Gibson has raised directly at Westminster with UK Ministers and one Kenneth Gibson led a debate on at Holyrood.
Mrs Gibson said:
“After ensuring free TV licences scrapped for the over 75s in the middle of a pandemic, the Tories have hit another new low by hiking licence fee as necessary Coronavirus restrictions continue.
“If the UK Government is to restrict free TV licences to recipients of Pension Credit, they should at least ensure that our oldest and most vulnerable citizens receive it.
“Scotland must have full powers over broadcasting, not least so that we can restore and retain free vital television services for older people.”