Portsmouth MP warns veterans could miss out when BBC axe free TV licences for over-75s

Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt  leaves Downing Street in March. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt leaves Downing Street in March. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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DEFENCE secretary Penny Mordaunt has warned veterans could miss out when the BBC axes free TV licences for over-75s.

In a letter to culture secretary Jeremy Wright, Ms Mordaunt and defence minister Tobias Ellwood suggest reminding BBC director general Tony Hall of the 'sacrifices made by many of our more senior citizens in the defence of this country'.

‘Only last week, through poignant commemorations and an outporing of public support for our veterans, we remembered those who took part in D-Day 75 years ago.

‘Indeed the BBC was heavily involved in the production of those events.

‘It would be rather ironic if, in future, that very same community were unable to watch such tributes to their sacrifice and service.’

The pair’s letter said there are 1.1 million veterans aged over 75.

Mr Wright said he was ‘very disappointed’ at the decision, which comes into effect in June 2020.

Means tested licences will be available for those over 75. It will cost £250m from 2021/22 - saving the corporation around £500m.

A colour TV licence costs £154.50.

A BBC spokeswoman said government stopped funding for all over 75s.

She said: ‘The BBC has enormous respect for the men and women who have served our country and sacrificed so much, as anyone who saw our extensive coverage of the recent commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day will appreciate.

‘It is right that the Government sets and controls entitlement for benefits, and if they believe there needs to be greater provision for any group in society, then they can expand the scope of other benefits to meet those objectives.’