asked the Postmaster-General whether he has considered a petition signed by 450 old age pensioners in the borough of Ilford and forwarded to him by the mayor of Ilford, asking that sympathetic consideration be given to their request that the charge at present made for broadcast receiving licences be reduced by half in so far as old age pensioners are concerned; and how far it is his intention to meet their wishes.
I have received a number of representations from organisations and individuals suggesting that broadcast receiving licences should be issued to old age pensioners either free of charge or at a reduced rate. After careful and sympathetic consideration, the Government regrets that it is unable to accept the proposals either in relation to all old age pensioners or any section of them.
Will not the right hon. Gentleman look at this matter again, bearing in mind that these old people have very few pleasures, and that to many of them, I refer particularly to those living alone, the wireless is a great source of companionship and pleasure? A pound is an expensive charge in these days of rising costs. Could not he look at this once again, rather more sympathetically?
I have looked at the matter as sympathetically as I can, but there are widows, and sick and unemployed persons on the same level of incomes. We could not make this concession to old age pensioners unless we gave it to the others, and in bulk a very large sum is involved.