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2005 Retired Members' Conference
11 October 2005

The current proposals by the government and broadcasting agencies will see the ending of all analogue broadcasting in this country between 2006 and 2010 – digital TV will be imposed upon the whole population by 2012 at the latest. There is considerable concern that this may leave many elderly retired persons either with poor services or faced with considerable costs to upgrade existing equipment.

The proposed changeover will necessitate the purchase of set top decoder boxes and in many cases replacement of existing roof or loft aerials. It will also prevent the use of most existing video recording equipment to be able to record one channel whilst watching another. All these costs are at present expected to be borne by the consumer.

It appears from various documentation studied that consideration is being given to assisting the blind and disabled sectors but no mention is made of the elderly on fixed incomes who may not fall into either of these categories. Financial assistance, by way of Pension credit, should be made available for those persons without the means to pay for the changeover.

Conference therefore calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to take urgent steps to monitor the situation and to obtain suitable assurances from government that where necessary financial assistance will be available to ensure that the elderly do not suffer any loss of service or financial distress in the implementation of this changeover.