A WHARFEDALE MP is urging the Government to protect free TV licences for the over 75s.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) spoke on the issue in Parliament last week after Labour forced a vote calling on the Government to ‘honour a promise’ over maintaining pensioner-age benefits. Responsibility for funding licences was passed to the BBC in 2015 and the corporation has since been consulting over its future, with the Government’s contribution set to be phased out by 2020.

Mr Sobel said: “The BBC has introduced BBC Sounds, on-demand and social media services. These are less likely to be used by the over-75s but the Government expect the BBC to introduce these services and take away the benefit for over-75s, or take the costs. This cannot stand.”

Age UK are also campaigning for the benefit to remain - pointing out that for many elderly people the TV acts as their main form of company and a vital source of information.