The Government has been accused of “outsourcing austerity” by MPs after the BBC revealed it would be means-testing for free TV licences for the over-75s.

During an Urgent Question in the Commons, Labour’s Wes Streeting said this was the latest example of the Tories trying to “offset” their cuts after the responsibility for the policy transfers to the broadcaster from next year.

READ MORE: Politicians hit out at BBC over decision to scrap free TV licences for over 75s

He said: “We have been here before. They hiked up council tax to offset Tory cuts to council services.

“They introduced a care tax to offset Tory cuts to social care. They introduced a police tax to offset police cuts.”

Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake said the announcement was the “inevitable consequence of
the Government’s decision to effectively outsource austerity by transferring responsibility” to the BBC.

He called on Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to outline how “he intends to increase take-up of the Pension Credit” so that those still eligible for a free TV licence can get one.

READ MORE: Viewing figures revealed for new BBC Scotland channel

Mr Wright said it was the job of all in Parliament to make sure that message is spread, saying he did not want to see this policy scrapped by the BBC.

But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said: “The truth is his Government is supporting taking away £150 from pensioners who are on around £10,000 a year at the same time as Government ministers are ... promising £3,000 in tax cuts for people who are on 10 times more than that pensioner.”