They want the commitment enshrined in new legislation that is currently going through parliament.

The call comes on the day the long-awaited Media Bill is debated in the House of Commons.

A detailed analysis of the Media Bill by the over-60s campaign group Silver Voices shows that there is no reference to protectingtraditional TV which is currently set to expire in the early 2030s.

This is despite Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer saying in a speech in September that older people who depend on terrestrial services should not be “left behind”.

Silver Voices is calling on the Government to insert a short amendment into the Bill guaranteeing that traditional TV is secure until at least the year 2040.

READ MORE: Older patients increasingly face digital barriers to see GP

Our Keep Us Tuned In crusade backs campaigners demanding terrestrial services and Freeview until at least that date.

The intervention comes after the campaign group and fellow campaigners from the Broadcast 2040+ coalition published a landmark study demonstrating the importance of traditional TV to the British public.

The survey found that 74 per cent of people thought that removing this service would cut off older people, with four in five believing that it should be protected past 2040.

Traditional TV is still enjoyed by more than 17 million people in the UK – and it is often those who have the least who watch it most: the poor, older people and the disconnected in rural areas.

Silver Voices Director, Dennis Reed said: “The Government’s Media Bill has such a big hole you can see it from space. Two months ago, the Culture Secretary was telling us that viewers who depend on traditional TV should not be left behind.

“Now in the Media Bill, one of which comes only around every generation, there is not a single reference to protecting traditional TV.

“Amending the Bill to provide this guarantee would be simple and straightforward. If the Government doesn’t act, then MPs should insist on this amendment.”

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Demands for the protection of traditional TV comes as it was revealed that more than 100 million letters have been sent out by BBC for non-payment of the licence fee.

Figures unearthed by the Taxpayers Alliance in a freedom of information request show that 34.3 million letters were sent in 2020/21, the first year of the covid pandemic.

This went up to 35.7 million the following year and jumped to 36.2 million in 2022/23.

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