Hannah Bardell MP has slammed the Tories for breaking another election promise, as it was revealed the BBC will end the blanket free TV licenses for over-75s.

The 2017 Tory manifesto promised to “maintain” pensioner benefits, “including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this Parliament”

The SNP spokesperson on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Hannah Bardell MP has renewed calls on the UK government to ensure the free TV licence is fully funded, and can continue to benefit around 4.5 million households across Scotland and the UK.

The number of over-75s living alone now stands at 2.2 million, over half the age group, and it’s a figure that’s risen by a quarter in the past 20 years

The SNP has consistently called on the UK government to fund the TV licence for over-75s, with the party’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Patricia Gibson MP holding the Tory government to account on this in Westminster just a few weeks ago. In light of the breaking news, the party has committed to raise the issue at the earliest opportunity in the House of Commons.

Commenting, Hannah Bardell MP said:

“After years of Tory austerity, and the deep financial uncertainty of Brexit, the last thing our older people need is the extra burden of £154.50 to their household bills. The UK government must U-turn on their broken manifesto promise and fully fund the TV license for our older people.

“Even more galling, predicating the free TV licence on Pension Credit, which has already been savagely cut by the Tories, is a deeply damaging and a cynical act of betrayal.

“The Tories simply cannot be trusted on delivering for Scotland’s older people. The UK already has the lowest state pension in the developed world – our older people need more financial support, not less, especially when living costs are rising.

“The Tory government need to explain why they are breaking their promises on the TV license, and move now to ensure that our elderly population do not suffer from this ill-thought out proposal.”