The decision to charge most over-75s for a TV licence will increase social isolation in Dundee, a local citizens’ rights group has claimed.
The BBC this week announced it will now means test licences for those over 75 from next year due to financial pressure.
This means an estimated 328,000 more elderly Scots will have to pay £154.50 a year if they wish to watch live television and access the iPlayer service.
Dorothy McHugh, secretary of Dundee Pensioners’ Forum, which stands up for the rights of the elderly population, said the change could have a devastating effect on many locals.
She said: “I’m absolutely outraged.
“The UK Government has passed this situation on to the BBC and I think it’s shocking.
“There’s an estimated one million people in the UK that rely on TV as their window to the world.
“It’s absolutely unsupportable. So many people in their 80s and 90s need it for companionship.”
In April, the forum travelled to the BBC’s offices in Glasgow to demand they retain free TV licences.
Ms McHugh added: “We will be joining in with other groups across the country soon to call for this decision to be reversed.”
Age Scotland have called on the UK Government to stick to its 2017 manifesto commitment and continue to fund the entitlement.
Brian Sloan, the organisation’s chief executive described the news as a “kick in the teeth” to older people who are “already struggling to stay on top of rising living costs”.
The BBC say the changes are necessary after the UK Government announced in 2015 that the corporation would have to take over the cost of providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the fee settlement.
The BBC said that funding free TV licences for all over-75s would have cost £745m — a fifth of the its budget — and resulted in “unprecedented closures”.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said it had been a “very difficult decision” but this was the “the fairest and best outcome”.
But Prime Minister Theresa May has said she was “very disappointed” with the BBC’s decision and said she had expected the media body to continue with the concession.
She added taxpayers expect the BBC to instead show “restraint on salaries for senior staff”.
Chris Law, SNP MP for Dundee West, said the decision will affect 7,000 of his constituents as well as many more across Dundee and Tayside.
He said: “For many of these constituents, the television is one of their main points of contact with the outside world, and I dread to think what affect this decision will have.
“Rather than take responsibility for what they knew would be a highly unpopular decision, the UK Government instead passed the buck to the BBC in the full knowledge that without the previous Government subsidy the BBC would never be able to sustain the scheme.
“The UK Government claims that austerity is now over, but for many of my older constituents this will be another cost for their household to weigh up. The UK Government must rethink their decision to end Government subsidy for this scheme and help the BBC reinstate the free TV licence for over-75s.”
An estimated 3 million households in the UK will lose their free TV licence as a result of the decision.
Those that continue to use services without paying could face a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs.
Those able to prove they receive pension credit, a means-tested benefit, will not have to pay.