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Scots party leaders unite in call for U-turn over free TV licences for all over-75s

© Jane Barlow/PA WireScottish Labour leader Richard Leonard
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

Scottish political party leaders have signed a joint letter urging Theresa May to reinstate free TV licences for all over-75s.

The letter, signed by all the Holyrood leaders apart from the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson, is calling on the Prime Minister to commit to the move as one of her final acts in office.

The announcement last week by the BBC that TV licences for over-75s would be means-tested from next year sparked a furious backlash.

But the broadcaster said the move was aimed at protecting programming while dealing with the UK Government passing the cost of funding free licences on to the BBC.

The joint letter states: “Pensioners are already more likely to be at risk of poverty, and are equally more likely to rely on access to a television, for information and entertainment.

“Cutting access to the free TV licence will be cutting many pensioners off from their main connection to wider society.”

Richard Leonard, leader of Scottish Labour, who organised the letter, said: “The way we treat our elderly citizens is a mark of the kind of society we are. These are people who have contributed all of their working lives.

“The Tories have broken their promise to pensioners, and they must reverse the decision to scrap free TV licences now.”

The letter has also been signed by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Green co-convenors Maggie Chapman and Patrick Harvie.