15th December 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Council calls for TV licence decision to be reversed

Councillors are putting pressure on the government to intervene in a BBC decision to require elderly people to pay the TV licence fee.

A motion was brought to Wednesday’s full council meeting by South Mainland member Allison Duncan, after it emerged most over-75s would be required to pay the fee.

Mr Duncan was seconded in his motion by North Isles member Ryan Thomson. Mr Duncan said the council needed to turn to government to reverse “this latest turn of the austerity screw”.

His motion was given unanimous backing by members.

He said news of the decision had been greeted with “dismay and anger” by many of the 2,000 people in the isles affected by the imposition.

The BBC is continuing to provide licences to over-75s who can prove that they claim pension credit.

But Mr Duncan argued there was a low up-take of the benefit in the isles.

“Many Shetland pensioners have contacted their councillors and MP seeking SIC support to bring their concerns to the attention of government,” the motion stated.

“Few have access to the internet, online social media or even daily newspapers and rely on TV to maintain contact with the wider world.

“SIC is well placed to speak on behalf of those in our community affected by this move.

“Free TV licences started as a government initiative and remains a manifesto commitment.

“It surely must be to government that we turn to reverse this latest turn of the austerity screw.

“I request that SIC writes to the UK government to intervene with the BBC in this matter as a matter of urgency.”

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