2020-08-02 19:24

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Elderly Now Forced To Pay TV License Fees As Evidence Shows Detrimental Effect Upon Pensioners' Mental Health

The UK has an ageing population according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures. There are nearly 12 million (11,989,322) people aged 65 and above in the UK.

Despite mainstream media mostly ignoring the rights of our ageing population, andopften actually atatcks pensioners and falslely claims they are rich; their physical and mental health & safety (particularly in the community), has a great impact upon the lives of the country's retired citizen. The campaigning organisation, the National Pensioners Convention, remains one of the only real political lobbying organisation, along with AGE UK.

Pic: NPC press release - click to go to the NPC websiteWith a Tory Government and PM Boris Johnson, the rights of pensioners in the UK are now under serious attack as the Government continues it's 'politics of envy' tactic to split and control the generations of UK citizens by pitting them against one another: Young VS Old!

Whilst Unionsafety concerns itself with mental health issues affecting the UK's workforce, it also understands the impact of age and how society treats it's pensioners as being a major factor which can negatively impact upon the mental health of our parents, grand parents and the elderly who live alone and have no family to fall back on for support and help.

Covid-19 has shown what we have always known, that social isolation can have devastating affects upon a person's mental health and the elderly in particular are less able to cope than their younger counterparts. Not that it is an easy lifestyle to bare, especially as the majority isolated from neighbours, friends and family are often in that position not out of choice.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are now considered to be at levels which some consider to be almost at epidemic levels and our hospitals and mental health services are stretched, not because of the elderly, but because of the total lack of serious funding and resources.

For many of our elderly people, TV and Radio is the sole source of social contact they may have. Now thanks to Tory Government policy of transferring their social responsibility to provide free TV and Radio licenses to the BBC itself, more than half a million older people with dementia could be forced to pay for their TV licenses from next year, research suggests. The estimate came after the BBC announced it will make people aged 75 or over pay £154.50 a year for their TV licenses from June, apart from those who claim the meanstested pension credit.

More than 552,000 older people with dementia, including more than 140,000 aged 90 or over, could lose their free TV licenses as a result of the change, statistics show. The total was reached by combining official population statistics with the prevalence of dementia by age group. The Alzheimer’s Society said that television can serve as a "lifeline" for isolated older people.

This country already has the worst record according to figures from the OECD, and provides retirees with the lowest state pension amongst almost all European nations. BY far our pensioners live in greater poverty than their counterparts living in France and Germany for example. Moreover, British pensioners living abroad are not as the media tries to make out, living in luxury.

Pic: NPC outside Downing St

Mental and physical health issues, not to mention Equality concerns affect the elderly and have poor re-dress compared to those at work.

Despite the general news media, both printed and broadcast, ignoring the needs of our elderly, National Pensioners’ Convention members turned out across the country on Thursday (30th July) to protest at the axing of free TV licenses for all over 75’s.

They tore up their TV licenses and waved banners in London, Newcastle, Oxford, and Norwich to try and get the government to stop the BBC imposing the £157.50 licence fee on our oldest citizens from this Saturday, 1st August.

Pic: Jan Shortt NPC Gen SecDespite the coronavirus threat, they put on their masks and braved protests at the gates of Downing Street and outside BBC regional offices this morning, with more planned for Liverpool and Belfast in the run up to Saturday.

Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC said:

“Thank you so much to the many NPC members who supported our protests across the country today at the unjust scrapping of free TV licence for all over 75’s! The fittest and most able came out of lockdown to show their anger and disgust at the axing of this vital universal entitlement – a particularly cruel thing to do during the pandemic, when many isolated older people are still afraid to go out."

Jan added:

“The NPC wants to thank Lord Foulkes and members of the House of Lords for making a final attempt to get the government and the BBC to find a way of retaining the free licence for all those over 75. We can only hope that the Prime Minister and the BBC Director General will heed all of our calls and find a way to reverse this decision which will cause so much distress to our oldest and most vulnerable.”

Source: NPC Campaign Newsletter / Health Campaigns Together / Unionsafety

See also: Unionsafety E-Library for further resources from AGE UK and NPC here

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