THE BBC is facing a backlash for axing free TV licences to over-75s as over £240,000 sign a protest petition.

Age UK amassed the signatures amid growing opposition to the move to penalise pensioners rather than cut the wages of star presenters.

A newly launched separate petition to Parliament is gaining huge momentum and has been signed by over 42,200. At 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

READ MORE: TV licence move will backfire

The Parliament petition says: "Removing them [TV licences] will only penalize the poorest old age pensioners, many who rely on their television for company and their main source of entertainment."


The Government must “take back responsibility” for funding free TV licences for over-75s to ensure millions of elderly pensioners are not robbed of their “main form of company” in an “unthinkably cruel blow”, Age UK has insisted.

"We believe this change will harm millions of older people who rely on their TV," the charity's petition states.

"Together, we must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences."

On Monday the BBC announced that only over-75s who receive Pension Credit will be eligible to claim the free TV licence from next year.


As many as 3.7m older people stand to lose their entitlement to a free TV licence from next summer under the new rules.

It will see 3.7 million over-75s dragged into paying the £154.50 licence fee - the first time the age group will have to pay the charge since 2000.

Only 1.5 million will continue to get the free TV licence. Single OAPs over the age of 75 with a weekly income of less than £167.75 or couples with a weekly income of less than £255.25 will continue to qualify for the free TV licence.

READ MORE: TV licence fees for over-75s will be means-tested

Funding the free licences, which have been available to all over-75s for nearly two decades, is due to be transferred from the Government to the BBC next year as part of an agreement hammered out in 2015.

On Tuesday, the Government was accused of "outsourcing austerity" by MPs in the Commons who said the Conservatives were trying to "offset" cuts to public services.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that pensioners had spent their lives contributing to society, so providing over-75s with free TV licences "is not too much to ask".

More than 20,000 people signed a petition on the party's website, while more than 40,000 added their names to a Parliamentary petition that warned the move "will only penalise the poorest old age pensioners".

In a joint statement released on Monday, the BBC's chairman, Sir David Clementi, and director general Tony Hall said continuing the Government's scheme would have had a "severe impact" on services and that the new model "represents the fairest possible outcome".

Protesters from the National Pensioners Convention in Blackpool marched with a banner saying: “Save Our Free TV Licence.”