A PETITION asking the Government to take back responsibility for funding free TV licences for over 75s was presented to parliament by the Barrow and Furness MP.

John Woodcock handed in the petition to the House of Commons speaker John Bercow after it gathered more than 500 signatures from concerned residents.

The Government recently announced that free TV licences would be withdrawn for people over 75s who do not claim pension credit from May 2020.

Campaigners say for many older people, television is their main source of news, entertainment and information and provides a vital link to the outside world.

In Barrow and Furness there are around 1,915 households who are entitled to, but not claiming, pension credit, which means that they will not be able to claim a free licence.

The petition is presented on behalf of Barrow and Furness constituents Gemma Humes and Margie Arts, and has received 564 signatures.

Mr Woodcock said “Many older pensioners are on a limited budget and paying a full TV licences places an additional burden on household budgets that are already strained.

"I stand behind my constituents’ call for the government to take back responsibility for providing free TV licences for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“I would like to thank my constituents for their hard work in raising awareness, supporting this important cause and helping to take the fight to Westminster.”

Gemma Humes said “I think it is great that the majority of people support this.

"I do feel if this support were to be withdrawn it could contribute to mental health issues and there could possibly be more suicides due to reduction in mental health and wellbeing."