Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed the announcement today that the BBC will delay changes to the licence fee for over-75s in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The BBC was due to bring back licence fees for over-75s starting from June. Mr Carmichael also called for community-based solutions to combat social isolation and support vulnerable individuals.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Suspending changes to the over-75 licence fee is a welcome step from the BBC. In these exceptional circumstances we all need to think about how we can help society as a whole.
“It has been suggested that people over 70 are going to be required to stay at home during the height of the coronavirus outbreak. We know that older people are more likely to suffer from loneliness and virus isolation is likely to increase this issue. If this is the case then it is only right that we ensure that they have access to TV programming as a way to mitigate loneliness.”
“We are fortunate in the Northern Isles to have strong social networks. I have been heartened over the last few days to see the emergence of community support groups, which are a testament to the resilience of local people in the face of coronavirus. I would encourage everyone to help out in whatever way they can, in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.”