OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has labelled the government as “inept, in contempt and out of touch” over their changes to BBC funding that has led the broadcaster to implement changes to the way it handles over 75s TV licences.

The BBC has announced that due to funding changes by the government, it is scrapping the free TV licences for over 75s in favour of a scheme that is based around means testing.

It is tied to pension credit, whereby if one person in the household qualifies for pension credit, they will receive a free TV licence.

Mr McMahon said: “It’s appalling that this Tory government is trying to offload responsibility for funding free TV licences onto the BBC.

"More than 3,700 households in Oldham will be affected by these changes that will see many of these elderly people who are already struggling tipped over the edge."

He pointed out that according to the campaign to end loneliness 40 per cent of older people say that the TV is their main source of company.

Under the new system, 3,037,950 households will lose their free TV licence because of linking the concession to Pension Credit.

Mr McMahon continued: "Some 1.6 million pensioners living alone will lose their TV licence under a means tested system. It is estimated that 1.3 million over 75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not claim the benefit. This will result in most who are eligible paying the fee anyway.

"The cost of these changes is rarely seen by those on the Tory front bench or at the top of the BBC, changes like these directly affect peoples lives and impact on their everyday freedoms.

"Boris, Raab, Leadsom, Javid or McVey will not see the crippling impact this will have on elderly people’s finances. Nor will they care, as they continue to admit to breaking the law, taking drugs and promising tax cuts for the richest 10% in society, leaving nothing for the rest of us.”

Mr McMahon is one of many senior politicians to have spoken out against the changes to the free license fee with deputy Labour leader Tom Watson weighing in on the decision

He said: “It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for 3 million older people, leaving a Tory manifesto promise in tatters.

"I challenge all Tory leadership candidates to honour the commitment they made in 2017. You cannot means test for social isolation. You cannot means test for loneliness. Millions of elderly and isolated people will lose because of this announcement - Labour will fight it with everything we’ve got.”

Jim, outraged by the changes, said on social media “ The Tory party have proven themselves inept, in contempt and out of touch.

The Labour Party and I will fight to reverse this change. Older people in my constituency rely upon their TV’s 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”