NORTHWICH MP Mike Amesbury has called on the government to rule out scrapping free TV licenses for the elderly, as new figures revealed thousands of households in Weaver Vale could lose out, costing them more than a combined £800,000 a year.

Speaking in the Commons, the Weaver Vale MP called on the Conservatives to 'honour their own 2017 manifesto pledge' to protect free TV licenses for the over 75s until at least 2022.

According to research by the Labour Party, in Weaver Vale alone 5,390 'older households' could face having to pay a licence fee, costing a collective £811,195 annually.

As part of the last BBC Charter, the government devolved responsibility for the free TV licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

By outsourcing responsibility for paying for free TV licences, the government will be saving £745 million across the UK in 2021/22, and Mike highlighted that this is in addition to the £220 million the government will be saving that same year through changes to pension credit.

Mike said: “This government has broken its manifesto promise to keep free TV licences until 2022, and now thousands of elderly people in my constituency are facing losing their free TV licences.

“This is yet another Tory policy that punishes pensioners. Through scrapping free TV licences and changing pension credit alone, this government would offload almost a billion pounds of costs onto our oldest citizens in a single year.

“This Tory government is picking pensioners’ pockets. Labour is calling on the government to urgently reconsider and fund free TV licences for over-75s.”