The proposals would mark a turnaround, following uproar when free TV licences for older people were scrapped in 2020
Scottish Labour has vowed to overturn the decision to scrap TV licence fees for the over-75s in Scotland.
The party also promises to help cover broadband bills for the over-75s in its latest election pledge.
Party leader Anas Sarwar said the new “staying connected” policy would provide every Scots household with people aged over 75 with the £159 cost of a TV licence.
The proposals would mark a turnaround, following uproar when free TV licences for all older people were scrapped by the UK Conservative Government in 2020.
Since then, only low-income households that claim pension credit benefit have been eligible for a free licence – which many described as a lifeline.
Announcing his plans, Mr Sarwar said Holyrood has the powers to tackle the “national scandal” of pensioner poverty and ease the cost of the Tories’ “broken promise” not to scrap the benefit.
Scotland Scottish Labour has announced plans to pay television licence fees or help cover broadband bills for the over-75s.
Party leader Anas Sarwar said the “staying connected” policy would provide every household with people aged over 75 with the £159 cost of a TV licence.
The fund, which Scottish Labour says would cost no more than £73.1 million per year, would entirely cover the cost of the licence fee but could also be used to pay for broadband bills.
Mr Sarwar said: Labour would help every person aged 75 and over in Scotland with the cost of their TV licence or help with their broadband bills.
Pensioner poverty in Scotland is a national scandal, and it’s not fair that hundreds of thousands of older people are facing a new bill for TV licences. The Tories have broken their promise to these Scots, but we can use Holyrood’s powers to protect a benefit Labour is proud to have introduced, he said. For many older people, TV is a lifeline against loneliness and isolation, Mr Sarwar said.
He said: While the pandemic separated us all in our homes, the way many of us came together was over online video calls like Zoom. As we emerge from the worst of the public health crisis, it is essential that older people are not left behind in our recovery. It’s right that the Scottish Parliament delivers support to ease the cost of that.
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