EAST RENFREWSHIRE'S MP has joined those calling for the BBC to re-think plans to scrap free TV licences for pensioners.

Bosses at the broadcaster announced they would be introducing charges for over-75s who are not claiming Pension Credit. 

Hundreds of pensioners are expected to be affected in the area and they will now be forced to fork out £154.50 per year for a licence. 

READ MORE: BBC scraps free over-75 licence

The decision has sparked outrage in Barrhead and beyond with over 150,000 people signing a petition calling for the fees to be scrapped. 

Tory representative Paul Masterton told the Barrhead News: “On a recent visit to BBC bosses at Pacific Quay, I made my opposition to any changes to the TV licence fee clear. Many of those who are likely to face a new charge may feel isolated or lonely, and television provides them with some comfort.

"I don’t think it’s in any way fair and the move has been condemned by Age UK and others. Not only that, but it is something the BBC were aware that the Government did not want them to do. The last BBC settlement was very generous and made on the clear expectation the free licence regime would continue.

"If the BBC is looking to save some costs, perhaps they should be looking instead at the bloated salaries of certain presenters and pundits, rather than hitting vulnerable pensioners in the pocket. 

"This decision should be reversed.”

The BBC said restricting free licences to over-75s who claim Pension Credit was “the fairest and best outcome,” stating that maintaining free TV licences for all over-75s would have cost £745million – equal to a fifth of its budget.

The decision comes four years after the UK Government announced the BBC would take over responsibility for providing free licences for over-75s by 2020.

TV Licensing has advised customers they need not take any immediate action as they will be covered by a free licence until May 31, 2020, and will be supported through the changes.

Readers of the Barrhead News have expressed their opposition to the plans with many leaving comments on our Facebook page.

Heather Cooper wrote: "I don’t believe Gary Lineker is worth £1.67 million in salary. 

"No-one in health service business (who save many lives ) comes even close to this salary. 

"Not fair."

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Sarah Wright added: "It’s utterly disgusting that pensioners, at a time in their lives where they should be enjoying the simple pleasures and often their only source of connection to the world and relaxation and entertainment, are denied this by having the stress and worry of having to afford this on top of rising costs of living & energy bills by a greedy corporation.

"Shame on you BBC."  

Robert Burns said: "This is the Government's doing, rather than scrap free licence they passed it to the BBC so they look like the guilty party. 

"Bottom line is have adverts on BBC and scrap the licence fee all together." 

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