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Hansard 10 July: Column 616 ...
Hansard 10 July: Column 616

Culture minister Janet Anderson admitted that the concessionary TV licence scheme in sheltered accomodation for the elderly was unfair - but she said the government had begun to do something about it.

She was replying to Bob Blizzard, Labour MP for Waveney, who said all 40 flats in a complex in his constituency had lost their entitlement to the£5 shared television licence scheme because the housing association moved in one resident who was 59.

'Although I think that the housing association should have known better, and that the case demonstrates rather insensitive management, I also think it demonstrates the continuing unsatisfactory nature of the licence regime for sheltered accomodation.'

The minister agreed, but said the reecent change to give all over-75 year-olds free licences would help about 80% of people living in sheltered accomodation and those living at home.

'On 1 April, we made the change to replace references in the regulations to 'pensionable age' with the gender-neutral phrase 'aged 60 years or more'.

'When men over 60 are in those residential schemes, therefore, that will not jeopardise entitlement to a concessionary licence. We do recognise that it is an unjust and unfair scheme, but at least we have begun to do something about it - unlike Conservative members, who in 18 years refused to face up to the problem.'

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