TV Licences for over-75S

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:57 pm on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment) 3:57 pm, 8th May 2019

I think it was Mark Durkan who once described Opposition day debates as a bit like a silent disco. Today’s debate is literally becoming a silent disco as it goes on.

I congratulate Tom Watson and my hon. Friend Patricia Gibson, who have led the proceedings superbly and conveyed the feelings of the over-75s.

I particularly enjoyed the bit of the debate when my good friend Kevin Brennan rumbled the distortions in the Scottish Conservative party crib sheet. Scottish Conservative Members told us earlier that all the Opposition parties and the Government went through the Lobby arm in arm, suggesting that it was okay to hand over the costs of the free TV licence to the BBC. It would be fair to say that the hon. Gentleman sent the Scottish Tories

“homeward

Tae think again”.

Peter Heaton-Jones mentioned several quality TV programmes, and got to the heart of the debate. Should those who are 75 or over watch for free quality programmes such as “Pointless”, “Match of the Day” or that great classic, “Poldark”, or will the modern-day Warleggans opposite ask them to pay £154.50 a year to do so? We have heard a muddled position from Government Back Benchers so far. They say that not all those who are 75 or over should get free TV licences. Two Government Back Benchers, one a former Secretary of State, suggested that there are lots of millionaires who are over 75 and should pay the TV licence fee. I guess they know more millionaires than I do, but they gave no figures to show just how many of those aged over 75 are millionaires. The other suggestion was that many over-75s live in households where there are three, four or even more working adults, though again no figures were presented.