OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon says the BBC's plan to scrap free television licences for the over 75s will affect 5,000 households in the town.

He has hit out over the change forced by the government's decision to alter the way the broadcaster operates its budget, describing it as "cruel and misguided".

He said that according to the latest figures it would mean of the town's elderly would not have access to TV, which they rely on for their news and information.

Mr McMahon said “These changes are typical of a Tory government that has lost its touch on reality, and what real people need and deserve.

"The damage these changes will cause to local people, especially the elderly in Oldham will be huge. They should take back their responsibility for over 75s licences from the BBC.

“I will fight to stop these proposals. Elderly people in my constituency rely upon their TVs to relay social and news information about the region that they would otherwise go without, it is an essential part of their lives and the BBC and the government must recognise this.”

Mr McMahon has joined a number of politicians calling for the plans to be scrapped. f

In response, the BBC launched a public consultation on the topic late last year to gather public opinion on the subject.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Scrapping the free TV licence would be a real blow for many older people who already have many other challenges to contend with.

“Millions of older people, particularly those who are lonely or housebound with disabilities, rely on their TV as their trusted companion and window on the world.

"With over 5,000 households set to be affected, it seems many in Oldham will need to reassess their situation, should the changes come into effect from the BBC."