LOCAL politicians have continued to wade into the row over news that over 75s will now have to pay for their TV license.

Following concerns raised by both David Hanson, MP for Delyn, and Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, Hannah Blythyn, Assembly Member for Delyn, has has given her backing to a national campaign to protect free TV licences for over 75s.

About 3.7 million pensioners are expected to lose out on the entitlement when the change comes into force in June 2020.

The decision comes four years after the government announced the BBC would take over the responsibility for providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the licence fee settlement.

Hannah Blythyn AM said: “I would urge everyone to support the campaign to stop this cut to TV licences and ensure they remain protected.

“I’m particularly angry that older residents on fixed incomes will be hit hard by this decision which will affect so many people in Delyn.

Maintaining free TV licences for those pensioners was part of the Conservative Party manifesto at the 2017 general election.

Miss Blythyn added: “In doing this, the Conservatives have broken their manifesto promise to over 75s while trying to lay the blame at the BBC, but the fault lies with this government which through its agenda of cuts and austerity, risks plunging more and more pensioners into poverty.”

A BBC spokesman said: "We've reached the fairest decision we can so we protect the poorest pensioners while ensuring everyone will continue to receive the best programmes and services that the BBC can provide."

The BBC's director-general, Tony Hall, said: "This has not been an easy decision. Whilst we know that pensioner incomes have improved since 2000, we also know that for some the TV Licence is a lot of money. I believe we have reached the fairest judgment after weighing up all the different arguments.

"It would not be right simply to abolish all free licences. Equally it would not be right to maintain it in perpetuity given the very profound impact that would have on many BBC services.

"This decision is fairest for the poorest pensioners. Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit. It protects those most in need. And importantly, it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure."

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: "Make no mistake, if this scheme goes ahead we are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up.

"Means-testing may sound fair but in reality it means at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners facing a big new annual bill they simply can't afford, because though eligible for Pension Credit they don't actually get it.

"The BBC's decision will cause those affected enormous anxiety and distress, and some anger too, but in the end this is the Government's fault, not the BBC's, and it is open to a new prime minister to intervene and save the day for some of the most vulnerable older people in our society who will otherwise suffer a big blow to their pockets and to their quality of life.

"The decent thing for the Government to do is to continue to fund the entitlement until the BBC's overall funding deal comes up for negotiation in 2022."

The Intergenerational Foundation, which aims to improve intergenerational fairness, has backed the move by the BBC, saying it will take the free licence fee from those who can afford to pay.

A statement said: "This announcement improves intergenerational fairness. The free TV licence was originally introduced to combat pensioner poverty, the rate of which has halved in the last 30 years to 15%.

"There is simply no reason why retired judges, lawyers, bankers and doctors should receive a free TV licence when younger generations are struggling financially."