South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has given his backing to a local campaign to Save the Free TV Licence for all those over the age of 75.

Last month the BBC announced that from June 2020 only households with a pensioner over the 75 who are eligible for pension credit will receive a free TV license. At the time Colin Smyth MSP warned that this could lead to over 9,000 pensioner households losing on their current free TV licence.

The House of Commons will debate an e-petition in a Westminster Hall debate on Monday 15th July following a national e-petition and local pensioner Hugh McCreadie has launched a local petition to gather local support for the free TV licence.

Hugh McCreadie from Dumfries said, “Free TV licences for the over 75s have made a huge difference since their introduction. For many older people a TV can be the main source of comfort and it has been proven that having a TV tackles loneliness. I would ask people to consider signing my petition to make sure local MP Alistair Jack knows how important it is for the Government intervene and save free TV licences. The issue is being debated in the House of Commons and it’s important we send a clear message- we want to save our free TV licence”

South Scoland MSP Colin Smyth MSP has backed Hugh McCreadie’s petition and is disappointed that the UK Government are passing the blame onto the BBC. In a response to the national e-petition they said, “The Government is clear that the future of the over 75 licence fee concession is the responsibility of the BBC from June 2020.”

Colin Smyth said, “The last Labour Government introduced the free TV licence for all those over the age of 75 to help tackle loneliness and pensioner poverty. The loss of universal free TV licences for all those over 75 will see over 9,000 pensioner households across Dumfries and Galloway. I am pleased to back Hugh’s local campaign and hope that local MPs will act on the strong local support for retaining free TV licences when the issue is debated in Parliament. Conservative MPs stood on a manifesto commitment to retain the free TV licence for those aged over 75. It is disappointing the UK Government have scrapped funding for the free TV licence and passed responsibility to the BBC to pay for it if they wish to keep it. Conservative MPs should do the honourable thing, stand by their manifesto commitment and stop this cut”

Hugh McCreadie is gathering signatures on his paper petitions throughout the area. However he has also just set up an e-petition that local people can sign on-line to add to those who have signed the paper petition, it can be found here;

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