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Local MP and Pompey Pensioners join forces over Government’s snatching of free TV licence

Portsmouth Pensioners Association and Stephen Morgan MP have joined forces in a bid to urge the Government to reconsider their decision to means test TV Licences for over-75s.

The decision to co-sign a letter to the Prime Minister follows a long running local campaign pioneered by Mr Morgan and was agreed to at a roundtable discussion hosted in the MP’s constituency office.

Mr Morgan said:

“It is essential the Prime Minister listens to those who are most affected by this regressive and unjust policy U-turn. The Government decision to remove the universally free TV licence for over-75s will have devastating effects on social isolation and loneliness. 

I hope that in sending this joint letter with Portsmouth Pensioners Association, the Prime Minister understands the gravity of these changes for over-75s and hastily realises that broadcasting organisations should not be responsible for distributing benefits.”

Dr Alan Burnett, President of Portsmouth Pensioners Association has said:

“The decision to remove the universally free TV licence for over-75s will have real consequences for some over-75s in Portsmouth. The orientation around Pension Credit means that these changes will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.

I am delighted that Stephen Morgan MP continues to raise this issue in Parliament and the constituency, I look forward to our continued co-operation on this matter.”

Hundreds of Portsmouth Pensioners have expressed their outrage at this Government decision, with many of them writing in to the MP’s office to share their personal stories. The fact that 1.3 million over-75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not claim means that many of society’s most vulnerable people will lose their one connection with the outside world.

 The Portsmouth MP has said:

 “I am committed to continuing to work with organisations like Age UK, Portsmouth Pensioners Association and others in a bid to make the government see sense and uphold their 2017 manifesto pledge.

Many people in our communities and across the nation battle social isolation and loneliness. For many in our city the TV is their friend. Saving the current scheme would mean so much to so many older people in Portsmouth.”

The Joint letter concluded with a final plea to the Prime Minister to safeguard benefits for over-75s:

“We jointly call on you to show leadership and in one of your final acts as Prime Minister, commit to your Government taking back responsibility for this social benefit. 

Please honour your party’s manifesto pledge, listen to what Portsmouth pensioners have to say, and maintain the free TV licence for over-75s.”