Updated: Sep 3, 2020
The National Pensioners’ Convention will protest outside Downing Street* and BBC offices on Thursday over the axing of free TV licences for all over 75’s.
(11.15am to 12noon, 30th July 2020).
Despite the Coronavirus threat, the UK’s largest campaigning group for older people plans to stage ‘safe and socially distanced’ actions across the country to show their anger at the loss of the benefit.
Members are targeting the official home of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street, and the BBC’s ‘Pink Palace’ offices in Newcastle among others, in a bid to stop the broadcaster imposing the £157.50 fee on our oldest and most vulnerable before Saturday’s 1st August deadline.
Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC said: “The NPC is disappointed that the Government has not stepped in to stop the BBC re-imposing the licence fee on our oldest citizens. The free TV licence for all over 75’s is a universal entitlement for older people who, particularly at the moment, rely on it for information and company.
“That is why on Thursday morning, the fittest and healthiest of our older members will don their masks and gloves - and put sanitiser in their pockets - to join a static, and socially distanced demonstration, outside Downing Street - and where possible, outside BBC offices up and down the country.
“To impose means testing on over 75’s to determine who should receive the free licence, rather than giving it to them all, is simply wrong in a wealthy country like ours in the 21st century. Especially when so many are struggling to make ends meet on the basic state pension as it is, without finding the extra money to watch TV.”
The NPC is also continuing to push its social media campaign encouraging supporters to retweet the NPC’s message on its Twitter page to the Prime Minister. NPC members who are unable to go out because they are still shielding are asked to send pictures and videos of their own home-based protests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Shortt commented: “Older people feel angered that the Prime Minister who promised last November that it was ‘crucial’ to save the free licence for all over 75’s has failed to keep his promise.
“We also want to ask members of the public who have supported our campaign to let the Prime Minister know how angry people are, by tweeting and posting pictures and videos on his social media in a last minute bid to stop this miscarriage of justice.”
The NPC lays the blame for this ‘draconian’ measure to axe the free licence squarely at the door of the government. It is a cruel decision for the government to force the BBC to take, particularly while a great many over 75s are still self-isolating and afraid to go out because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
*The National Pensioners Convention was set up in 1979 to champion the rights and welfare of the UK’s older people. It now represents more than 1.5 million people in over 1,000 different organisations across the UK and holds an Annual Convention – a pensioners’ parliament - to debate issues affecting older people.
*For more information about the NPC protests on Thursday morning, 30th July, 2020 please contact:
Campaign & Media Officer
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National Pensioners Convention
Telephone: 07588 779515
For more information, see the link below