WIRRAL West MP Margaret Greenwood has accused the Government of breaking an election promise after the BBC announced plans to scrap free TV licences for over-75s.

Around 3.7 million pensioners are expected to lose out on the entitlement when the change comes into force in June 2020.

In Margaret Greenwood's constituency alone, 5,150 households could lose free TV Licenses as a result of the policy.

Only low-income households where one person receives Pension Credit will still be eligible for a free TV Licence.

The decision follows a BBC-led consultation earlier this year on the future of the free TV Licence policy.

As part of the last BBC charter the Government devolved responsibility for the free TV Licence policy, and the cost, to the BBC.

The corporation has said free licences will be means-tested under a new scheme that intends to protect programming while dealing with the extra funding burden.

However, the Conservatives made a promise in their 2017 general election manifesto that they would maintain the free TV Licences for the duration of this Parliament.

More than 230,000 people have signed a petition launched by Age UK calling for free television for the elderly to be protected.

Margaret Greenwood MP said: "The 2017 Conservative Party Manifesto was clear that free TV licences for over-75s would be maintained until the end of this Parliament.

"Now we find that over three million older people across the country are set to lose their free licences next year.

"In Wirral West over 5,000 households could lose out.

"An estimated 1.3 million poorer pensioners are eligible for Pension Credit, but aren't registered for this benefit.

"Having to pay for a TV licence will push some people even further into poverty at a time when pensioner poverty is rising.

"Free TV licences for over 75s, introduced in 2000 by the then Labour Government, are vitally important for so many people, especially those who live alone or are housebound.

"For many people a TV is their key source of entertainment and information.

"Indeed, 4 in 10 older people in the UK say that the TV is their main source of company.

"The government should keep its promise and step in and save TV licences for older people."

Age UK said television was the “main form of company” for more than a million of the country’s oldest people and called for the Government to continue picking up the bill.

“We believe this change will harm millions of older people who rely on their TV,” the charity’s petition states.

“Together, we must demand the Government takes back responsibility for funding free TV licences.”