Thousands of hard-up pensioners 'face food and fuel poverty' as their free TV ...

Thousands of hard-up pensioners face food and fuel poverty as their free TV licences are scrapped from today, campaigners warn More than 3million UK households will be asked to pay the  £157.50 annual fee   500k pensioners could qualify for a free licence but are unaware, study finds They could be forced to choose between having no TV and slashing their food and energy bills if they fail to register for pension credit, says Age UK 

By Ryan Fahey For Mailonline

Published: 23:16 BST, 31 July 2020 | Updated: 08:44 BST, 1 August 2020

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Thousands of pensioners face being driven into food and fuel poverty after their free TV licences are axed from today, warn campaigners.

The BBC's decision to scrap the freebie for most over-75s means more than three million households will be asked to stump up the £157.50 annual fee for the first time.

However, a study by a major charity says more than 500,000 pensioners are unaware that they could qualify for a free licence because they are on low incomes.

Over-75s can keep a free licence if they claim pension credit, a form of benefits. But the Age UK research says there are up to 590,000 over-75s eligible for the credit who don't claim it.

File photo shows an elderly woman watching television. Over-75s can keep a free licence if they claim pension credit, a form of benefits. But the Age UK research says there are up to 590,000 over-75s eligible for the credit who don’t claim it

File photo shows an elderly woman watching television. Over-75s can keep a free licence if they claim pension credit, a form of benefits. But the Age UK research says there are up to 590,000 over-75s eligible for the credit who don't claim it

BBC staff 'cull' hits just two per cent 

The workforce at the BBC has fallen by just two per cent over ten years, analysis reveals.

In 2009, the total was 22,874 while last year it was 22,401, an overall decline of only 473.

Bosses had wanted to cut staff by 10 per cent, reported the Press Gazette. By 2017, more than 2,600 had gone but this was cancelled out by new jobs in World Service News and public service broadcasting plus the launch of BBC Scotland. Staff costs rose £188million to £1.48billion for 2009-19.

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