I am delighted to speak in this debate but it feels as though, when I get on my feet in this place, it is increasingly because the Government appear to be completely abrogating their responsibilities towards our older people. Whether they are removing pension credits from mixed-age couples, or failing to keep their side of the bargain and pay the pensions due to women born in the 1950s who received little or no notice of the rise in the state pension age, it seems that this is happening more and more. I wonder whether the Minister is comfortable with the undeniable narrative that is emerging.
Today we are talking about the UK Government’s decision—and it is their decision—to have a go at the over-75s. I have already raised this matter several times in the Chamber and I have written to the Secretary of State, as have others; but I have never had a proper or meaningful response. Today I had been hoping for that response, but sadly we have just heard a wee bit more of the same. It is important to be clear that the Government have maintained—we heard this again today—that they are not scrapping TV licences for the over-75s, and that they are simply delegating responsibility for those licences to the BBC. This is a game of semantics that tells us that the Government want to scrap the free TV licences but do not want to take responsibility for doing so. It simply will not wash.