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Loneliness: Winter 2020-21

Volume 683: debated on Thursday 5 November 2020

As winter approaches, loneliness will be a concern for many people. That is why the Government, as part of our £750-million charity funding package, have put £18 million into charities that tackle loneliness and provide much-needed support, including through online social groups, virtual buddying, telephone helplines and other activities. That is on top of £44 million going towards mental health as part of the same package.

As we enter the latest lockdown, many people will be isolated in their homes. Age UK estimates that 2 million over-75s live alone. Research by the Library has revealed that more than 3,000 households in my constituency may lose access to their free TV licence. What impact assessment has the Minister made of removing funding for the free over-75s TV licence?

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the issue of the over-75s TV licence. The Government remain deeply disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over-75s licence fee concession. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s.