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16 July 2020SOPA statement protesting removal of free TV Licence for over 75s

STATEMENT from SCOTTISH OLDER PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY (SOPA)  

The news that the BBC is going forward with its plans to cancel free TV licences to those who are over 75 is a great disappointment to SOPA and our Members.  

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public service to the nation and it lacks sensitivity and is poor public relations to take this step at a time when so many Older People are obliged to stay at home because of the COVID pandemic.  

Many Older People - particularly those who live alone, who have no computer or smart phone - rely heavily on their television for information, entertainment and it may be their only companion. 

Loneliness and isolation, particularly during the pandemic, have a very detrimental effect on those most vulnerable and this will surely add to the problem, which Social Services and the NHS will have to shoulder. 

We acknowledge that the BBC continues to offer free licences to those who receive Pension Credit, and that many Older People are comfortable financially and therefore quite happy and able to pay the full price for their licence. 

We are aware that there are Older People who could apply for this benefit but, either through lack of knowledge or perhaps because they are too proud, have failed to apply. We, along with partner agencies working with and for Older People encourage those people to apply for the benefit, to which they are entitled.   

We are also conscious however that there are many not eligible for Pension Credit who nonetheless will struggle to pay the licence fee and may have to make a choice between paying the licence fee and other daily necessities.   

Surely it is not beyond the ability of Government and BBC to overrule this decision which will affect so very many of our Older People so badly? 

SOPA supports the campaigns of Age Scotland, Unite, Scottish Pensioners' Forum and many others small and large groups representing Older People to ensure free licences for the over 75s. 

Diana Findlay, Chair of Trustees, July 2020 

Links 

Age UK Switched Off: Save free TV for older people https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/save-free-tv-for-older-people/#

Unite: Reinstate free TV licences for over 75s (film clip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKqLjreaFdI 

TV Licensing: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/age?wt.mc_id=bbc_pr_o75_english 

13 July 2020SOPA releases 'lockdown' series of short films

For some time, SOPA has been very concerned about the way in which Older People are regarded by others. 

'Older people - a bonus not a burden' showcases the views of Older People in 'doorstep interviews' filmed during 'lockdown', in the summer of 2020. 

Many Older People will tell you that although we may be a bit slower because of stiff joints we are still the same person we have always been inside - people who have worked hard in various occupations, raised families and lived busy, interesting and varied lives in society.

With this in mind, we ventured to counter the stereotyping of Older People as frail, weak and burdens by undertaking this filming project. We want to show that we may be very mature but we are still living worthwhile lives, working, volunteering and contributing to our communities whilst still having lots of fun. We are also sharing what we have learnt in our life experience to younger friends and our grand-children.

To support this campaign. You can:

  • follow SOPA  on Facebook and Twitter 
  • like and share the interviews
  • bring the interviews to the attention of your family, colleagues, networks and local paper
  • contact SOPA if you would like to arrange an interview about the films or a screening of the films.

We hope you enjoy the films!
Diana,Chair, SOPA

You can find the films On:

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/scotopa
Twitter https://twitter.com/Scotopa

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