Free TV licences for the over 75s will end 1st August
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director said:
“For millions of over 75s who’ve had a torrid time over the last few months, this must feel like another kick in the teeth, during a terrible year.
“Many older people on low incomes have told us that if they have to find £150 plus a year to pay for a licence then they will have to forego some other essential, or try to survive without TV at all. We genuinely worry about the mental health of older people living on their own in this situation.”
Age Concern say that under new plans, only older people who receive a Pension Credit will receive a free TV licence. But two fifths of people who are entitled to this benefit don’t claim it either out of embarrassment, or because they don’t know they’re entitled to it. Half of over 75s are living with a disability, many don’t have internet access and rely on TV for news and companionship. A third are living in poverty.
Last week the BBC gave the over 75s 22 days notice of the full charge of £157.50 to watch not just the BBC but ITV and the other live broadcasters too. TV Licensing launched a freephone helpline for this group less likely to be smartphone or internet users. The Sunday Times reported that the number didn’t work. You could have guessed that!
Households which have free TV licences will be getting letters telling them to prove they are eligible for the Pension Credit or pay up. Their website is geared up for people to pay online, but many over 75s can’t do online banking, don’t own credit cards, and are unable to browse online. If you hit the contact button it says: “Covid-19 and your emails: Our team are working hard to respond to a large volume of emails. There may be a delay in responding to you.” Will all those letters go out on time?
The Tory chair of the digital culture, media and sport select committee said, “It will be an own goal of epic proportions to start hauling people over 75 in front of the courts.”
Free Parking for NHS Staff
NHS staff were allowed to park for free at their own hospitals during the lockdown. The Government has announced that this will end. Many hospitals charge around £20 a day, with Central London ones considerably higher. There is good public transport in London, but there are many parts of the country where if you don’t run a car you can’t get to work.
Rishi Sunak says it is right to end the “temporary” offer of free parking at hospitals for NHS employees. Some MPs are campaigning to keep free parking for NHS staff. If you agree, you might like to sign this petition.
John Lewis at Stratford has reopened
John Lewis at Westfield, Stratford City, E20 1EL is now open Mon – Fri 11am – 7pm, Sat 10am -7pm and Sundays Noon to 6pm. Maybe they struck a deal with their landlords? Anyway it’s good news for their customers, and especially their staff.