I rise to present a petition collected by two passionate, dedicated citizens of Barrow and Furness concerned at the impact of removing free TV licences from a number of pensioners in my constituency, particularly those who are just above the pension credit level or perhaps one of the up to 1,915 households in the constituency who are entitled to pension credit but do not claim. This could cause severe hardship.
The petition states:
The petition of residents of Barrow and Furness,
Declares that television licences should be free to all those aged over 75; further that free TV licences matter because for many older people television is their main source of news, entertainment and information, and provides a link to the outside world; further that for older people living on very limited budgets, having to pay the full cost of a TV licence would put an even bigger strain on their finances; and further that the plan to make it free to those households who are claiming pension credit will not benefit those most in need—it is well known that pension credit, for a variety of reasons, is massively under-claimed (in this constituency alone up to 1,915 predicted households entitled to, but not claiming, pension credit, to the tune of an estimated £4,649,324); further a related local petition on this matter has received 564 signatures.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take back responsibility for funding this important concession for all those aged over 75.
And the petitioners remain, etc.
It is excellent to see the Home Secretary in her place. Whether she was in place at the point at which the point of order was being raised, I do not know, but she is being briefed about it. People observing our proceedings will be pleased to see that no sooner is a matter of concern aired in the Chamber than the relevant Minister—in this case, the Home Secretary—beetles into the Chamber to be briefed all about it. This is very encouraging. Thank you.