Jardine: BBC Forced to Take Political Decision Over Fees

By David Ronald Evans, Jun 18, 2019 10:06

Christine Jardine speaking at a rally in front of supporters.

Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine, has today criticised ministers in the Commons for undermining the independence of the BBC.

Yesterday the broadcaster announced that free TV licences for up to 3.7m pensioners are being scrapped, and that only low-income households where one person receives the pension credit benefit will now be eligible for a free licence.

Downing Street criticised the decision despite promising to take action to maintain free TV licences in the 2017 Conservative manifesto.

Ms Jardine commented:

“Many people in my constituency rely on television as one of their only sources of company, and this decision could leave older people feeling cut-off and lonely.

“The simple fact is that this is not a decision that should have been forced on to the BBC. It is a political choice about a social benefit, and that should be a matter for the Government and Parliament.

“To make matters worse, the government has criticised the BBC for its decision, which undermines their independence in a completely unacceptable way.

“This represents another Conservative manifesto pledge broken. It’s no good to blame the BBC – the Conservatives promised to keep free TV Licences. They could have done so, but have chosen not to.”

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