A leading Councillor is urging elderly people confused about the free TV licensing law for the over 75s to contact the special hotline to sort out any problems.
Councillor Bill Brady, South Tyneside's Lead Member for Leisure and Tourism says: "I have had a lot of calls from concerned pensioners who are very worried because they have recently had visits from the TV licence investigators. These people are elderly and are naturally very upset when they get a knock on the door from a licence officer.
Although TV licences are free for people aged 75 and over - they must still possess a current licence. This is causing confusion among many elderly people especially in the Whiteleas area when the TV detector vans are operating at the moment."
Since November 2000 the TV licence is free to people aged 75 and over. However they still need to have a licence - but the Government will pay for it. This preserves the principle that everyone who uses television has to have a TV licence, and that fee goes to fund the BBC.
Councillor Brady adds: "The Government introduced this concessionary scheme for the over 75s because it is important that older people have access to the information and entertainment that television provides, at a time in their lives when they may need it most.
Unfortunately a lot of people seem to be confused about this and a re getting very worried when the TV licence detector people call. My advice to anyone in this position is simple: contact the helpline staff on 0845 602 3334. Calls are charged at local rate and the operators on the end of the telephone are very helpful."