THE BBC will go ahead will its plan to end free tv licences for over-75s  starting next month. 

Pensioners will be asked to pay the £157.50 a year to watch television from August 1.

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: TV licence charge brought in.Camley's Cartoon: TV licence charge brought in.

The controversial decision has caused outrage among campaigners and politicians, who say for many elderly people television is their main form of entertainment and company. 

Only households where someone receives the Pension Credit benefit will still be eligible for a free licence.

The national broadcaster was due to bring in the charges for pensioners in June, but delayed the move due to the coronavirus crisis. It claims the delay had cost around £35m a month, and previously warned that making no changes would lead to "unprecedented closures" of services. 

George Foulkes, Labour Peer, has been campaigning against the decision since it was first suggested and said today he was "absolutely outraged" by the decision.

Lord Foulkes, who is also chair of the All-Party Group for Ageing and Older People, said Boris Johnson must now cover the cost of the charges for the elederly.

He said: "I am absolutely outraged by the BBC’s decision to end free TV licences for over-75s. 
"Not only has this decision been dragged out for too long, but it now means that lonely pensioners are being dealt a dreadful, perhaps even deadly, blow. 


"So many lonely old people will continue to be confined to their homes for many months and rely on their TV as a vital lifeline for information, connectivity and entertainment.   


"BBC fatcats are so out of touch with the reality of older people, who will likely have to cut back on food and heating if they want to keep their TV and stay connected with the outside world.  


"They should be utterly ashamed of this decision. However, we will not stop in our campaign to save what is a vital social benefit. 


"The ball is now very much in the Government’s court and it must step in and take action to fund this social welfare measure. 


"It will be a test of their sincerity and honesty having pledged to keep this concession before abdicating responsibility to the BBC. Johnson promised this and he must shoulder the responsibility”. 
 

The BBC has said there will be a "Covid-safe" payment system, meaning people can apply online, and there will be dedicated support staff to help.

In the House fo Commons today, Labour's shadow culture minister Christian Matheson warned that many pensioners could be "forced to choose between eating and watching TV".

He said: "The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the government."

Culture minister Matt Warman replied: "The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down."