A GROUP representing pensioners in Oxfordshire has called the government's role in ending free TV licences for over-75s 'disgraceful'.

The current benefit will end on July 31 and up to 3.7 million pensioners will have to pay up to £157.50 to watch the BBC on TV and on iPlayer, according to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

The free scheme had been funded by the Government since 2000 but responsibility was passed to the BBC in 2015.

John Paine, secretary of Oxfordshire NPC group, said: “It is disgraceful that just weeks after celebrating their role played in WWII the government is now hitting those wartime heroes and their peers.

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“The BBC gave the government a chance to act by deferring the deadline from June to August. Boris Johnson ignored his earlier pledges and did not act. He has let down all UK citizens who have elderly relatives.”

More than 630,000 people signed a petition set up by Age UK, which called on the Prime Minister to take action. It also organised the emails to the BBC.

Mr Paine said: “The government should never have put the BBC into such an invidious position. They need to sit down with the BBC and find a way to keep the free TV licence.”