PENSIONERS have criticised plans to bring back TV licence fees for over-75s.

Paulette Cowley, 79, said she is “very angry” after the BBC announced it would reintroduce the £154 annual payment.

“With all these channels on the TV, I probably only watch a few shows a week on BBC,” said Ms Cowley, of Hove.

“It’s too much money for what I’m watching.

“The money will go straight to presenters who are earning millions anyway. It’s just terrible.

“I’m quite lucky but this will still cut into my holiday. I will have to find the money somewhere.”

Retirees not actively claiming pension benefits will now have to cough up money for licence fees starting next year.

Ms Cowley, who lives in Davigdor Road, said money coming out of pensioners’ pockets will hurt businesses in Brighton.

She said: “The money over-75s will have to find is going to come out of the small things.

“Some won’t be able to afford to get a cup of tea at the cafe. Brighton has so many cafes and shops, we are overwrought with them.

“Now all of that money will come out of local businesses and go up into London.”

Other pensioners have also lashed out at the move by the BBC.

Kate Harmond, who cares for a 99 year-old who did not wish to be named, said her friend wanted to “throw her TV out of the window” because of the proposed changes.

Age UK Brighton interim chief executive Simon Dowe said the BBC’s decision has caused “anxiety and distress”, but blamed the Government for the changes.

He said: “These changes will no doubt see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties forced to give it up.

“Many of them are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship.

“The BBC’s decision will cause a lot of anxiety and distress, but this is the Government’s fault.

“The BBC was handed the cost of licence fee subsidies by the Government in 2015, so they’re just trying to make up the money.”

Despite the exemption for those claiming Pension Credit, Mr Dowe said many retirees eligible for the benefit may still face fees.

“A lot of people are poor enough to be eligible for pension credit and don’t claim it, while others are right on the borderline."

A BBC spokesman said: “If the BBC were to fund free licences for all over 75s it would mean unprecedented closures of services and make the BBC worse.”

A petition calling for free TV licences for over 75s topped 171,000 signatures this week.