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Election 2021: Labour issues manifesto pledge to pay the TV licence for all those over 75 under 'staying connected' policy


By Scott Maclennan

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New Scottish Labour Party Leader Anas Sarwar and John Erskine on the election trail.
New Scottish Labour Party Leader Anas Sarwar and John Erskine on the election trail.

Scottish Labour has committed to paying the TV licence for every person aged 75 and over in Scotland through a new flagship policy announced in the party manifesto.

It means that 7825 people in Inverness and Nairn and 7541 people in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch would no longer worry about paying the charge.

The Staying Connected fund offers grants to every household with someone aged 75 and over up to the current £159 value of the TV licence, so elderly people can use that cash to put towards paying their licence fee or other digital connectivity bills.

Figures released earlier this month revealed Scotland has the highest rate of persistent pensioner poverty in the UK.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “Labour has unveiled a flagship policy to help every person aged 75 and over in Scotland with the cost of their TV licence or help with their broadband bills.

“Pensioner poverty in Scotland is a national scandal, and it’s not fair that hundreds of thousands of older people are facing a new bill for TV licences.

“For many older people, TV is a lifeline against loneliness and isolation. ”

Labour candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, John Erskine, said: “I’m proud to be standing on a platform to support older people in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and indeed across the whole of the Highlands and Islands.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of TV and broadband to bring people together, even while we’ve been separated in our homes. This has been particularly felt in more rural and remote areas like ours where travel restrictions and the stay home message have isolated many older people even further.

“Rather than going back to the old arguments, Scottish Labour under Anas Sarwar has a vision for a stronger, fairer nation, starting with support for older people and reversing the trend of pensioner poverty.”

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