Free TV licence should be abolished to ‘help the young’, Lords committee recomends
FREE TV licences for pensioners should be abolished, a Lords committee has recommended.
Other subsidies including free bus passes, winter fuel payments and the pensions triple lock should also be cut, the Committee on Intergenerational Fairness said.
Committee chairman Lord True said benefits must be rebalanced towards the young to prepare the country for 100-year lifespans.
‘We are calling for some of the outdated benefits based purely on age to be removed,’ he said.
‘Policies such as the state pension triple lock and free TV licences for over-75s were justified when pensioner households were at the bottom of the income scale but that is no longer the case.’
The report highlights how many pensioner households are now on average better off than many working age households, both in terms of income after housing costs as well as household wealth.
Lord True has recommended investing in social and private housing so young people can stop being ‘short changed by the housing market’, as well as bringing in new laws to protect people renting their homes.
‘We also need to change how we view education and training,’ he added.
‘Longer working lives mean older workers need support to re-skill and continue to contribute in the workplace.
‘Younger people, particularly those who do not go to university, need the Government to prioritise and fund further education and vocational training.’
But Dr Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said people of all ages were struggling and bigger, structural change rather than tinkering was needed.
‘Many young people are struggling on low wages at the same time as pensioner poverty is increasing for the first time in a decade,’ she said.
‘This is not about old versus young, it's about creating a society where everyone regardless of income or background can enjoy every stage of life.
‘Headline-grabbing proposals like abolishing free TV licences based on age risk distracting from the big structural changes needed across housing, work and communities.’