§ Mr. Elliot Morley (Glanford and Scunthorpe)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition which was organised by Mrs. Joan Davies of 25, Stow road, Scunthorpe on concessionary television licences. Mrs. Davies has attracted considerable support in Scunthorpe and the surrounding area for her idea of extending concessionary television licences to all pensioners irrespective of whether they live in sheltered accommodation.
The present position, of which you may be aware, Mr. Speaker, is that pensioners who live in certain forms of sheltered accommodation have concessionary licences. When they leave that accommodation, the new tenants do not enjoy those licences. This has led to unfairness. For example, one sheltered housing tenant, who lived in an upstairs flat, moved to a downstairs flat when she became increasingly frail. She was told that she no longer qualified for a concessionary television licence and she lost it.
491 It is argued by Mrs. Davies—I wholeheartedly agree with her—that many pensioners receive benefits such as concessionary travel as of right when they reach pensionable age. There seems no reason why the right to a concessionary licence should not be extended to all pensioners. After all, all pensioners have contributed throughout their lives, whether working or not, to the good of our country. The least that we can give them is a concessionary licence.
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I shall read the petition:To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.The Humble Petition of the people of Scunthorpe showeth that there is a need to change the rules concerning concessionary TV licences.Wherefore your petitioners pray that your honourable House will agree to grant a concessionary TV licence to all people of pensionable age as of right.And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
§ To lie upon the Table.