TV Licences for over-75S

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 3:15 pm, 8th May 2019

I have always admired the hon. Lady and in particular her party when it comes to negotiations. They do tend to take a robust stance. I understand the negotiations with my right hon. Friend the Member for Maldon were particularly robust, but she makes a very fair point.

I will conclude by saying that all universal benefits—the winter fuel allowance, the free bus pass and the TV licence—are coming under scrutiny because we are having to look at where we get the money to pay for social care and so on. We cannot spend the money twice. The money we give to someone who owns a vast estate and receives a free TV licence is money we could have spent on the social care of those with dementia and so on. We should not pretend. Public money is not finite and we should debate the fairest way to allocate it. When we look at the sustainability of the TV licence funding system and the sustainability of the welfare contract, we will find that in the years to come there will have to be change. It is time we started to debate that.