Politicians have slammed the BBC for their decision to scrap free TV licences for up to 3.7m pensioners. 

Research from the House of Commons Library found that over 3 million households would lose their free TV licence as a result of the decision. 

The BBC claimed that charging households that had received free TV £154.50 a year from June 2020 for the right to watch live television and access the BBC’s iPlayer service was the only way to avoid closing channels and making substantial cutbacks.

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The UK Conservative Government passed responsibility for the BBC license fee and concessions to the BBC in 2015 and the change, due to come into effect in 2020, has been made to ensure ‘fairness’ according to the public-funded TV company as those households where one person is receiving Pension Credit will still be eligible to receive the subsidy.

Airdrie and Shotts MP Neil Gray and MSP Alex Neil have both hit out at the UK Government following the BBC Board’s decision to scrap the free Over-75 Licence Fee for the majority of pensioners.

In Airdrie and Shotts, 5,756 people make use of the free licence and a great many of them will now have to pay the £154.50 annual charge to access their favourite programmes.

Mr Gray, the SNP Spokesperson for Work and Pensions, said: “The Tory UK Government knew exactly what it was doing when it transferred responsibility for the license fee concession to the BBC, so I am not surprised at this sad decision. I don’t think it is fair that someone could miss out on Pension Credits by 1p but, thanks to this new ruling, will need to pay the full licence fee.

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“For many of the 5,996 over-75-year olds in Airdrie & Shotts, TV is their only form of company, and they will be lost without it if paying the licence fee becomes one bill too many.

HeraldScotland: The BBC Iplayer is part of the BBC service The BBC Iplayer is part of the BBC service

“Older residents in Airdrie & Shotts, and across the UK in general, need help and assistance to enjoy their later years, not added worry and stress. The UK Government must regain responsibility for this and fully reinstate the free TV license for over 75s.”

Holyrood counterpart Mr Neil added: “Older people living on their own will suffer the most from this ill thought out decision.

“Often television is the only daily contact they have with the outside world. Many of our elderly citizens are housebound, unable to get out much, if at all. Others are suffering from loneliness and rely on the television for company.

“For those pensioners whose only income is a state pension having to pay £154.50 annually will have a massive impact on their budget, especially when living costs are rising.

“Our pensioners need more support, not less. The Tory Government need to explain why they have broken their promises on the TV licence.”

Speaking on Good Morning Britain Ruth Davidson added that the decision saying that she would back a campaign to prevent the charge. She said: "If I was asked to pay a few pounds more to help make sure that free TV licences were maintained for people over 75, I would willingly pay it."