Seema Malhotra today intervened in the Opposition Day debate secured by the Labour Party on the Government’s promise to maintain free TV licences for over-75s:
My hon. Friend is making an important point about how this will hit the most vulnerable and needy of our older people. Joanne, a 78-year-old disabled woman from my constituency, wrote to me to say:
“I worked as a teacher for more than 30 years. I have never claimed benefit of any kind until I became disabled…When I was able I went to the theatre, cinema…etc…Now my only source of entertainment is reading…and TV. To take away the free licence I feel, given what we have put into the country…is mean, petty and very unfair.”
Her wellbeing would be affected by not having TV, as would that of thousands of others. It is estimated that almost 6,000 people would be affected in my constituency. Does my hon. Friend agree that this is outrageous and that we should be working in the opposite direction, in order to help our older people?
Tom Watson, who was leading the debate in his role as the Shadow Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, replied: “Please tell Joanne that we are on her side and that we will be pressing the Government to honour their promises to her and the hundreds of thousands of other pensioners.”