Gordon Brown has urged Theresa May to use her final days in power to “honour” the commitment to protect free TV licences for all over-75s.
The former Labour prime minister has written to Mrs May to highlight the contradiction between the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto vow to protect such a pensioner benefit until 2022 and the reality.
The BBC has said the concession will only be available to households where someone receives Pension Credit from June 2020.
The decision came as the Government prepared to transfer the financial burden of providing free licences to the broadcaster.
Mr Brown, in his letter to the Prime Minister, said: “I am writing to ask you to consider ensuring that the manifesto promise – that the TV Licence would be free for over-75s until 2022 – is honoured.
“The BBC is now proposing to charge 3.7 million pensioner households the full licence fee from next year.
“I am enclosing the submission I made to the BBC, which shows not only that this decision contradicts the Conservative manifesto promise of 2017, but also that it changes the balance between universal and targeted benefits and makes the BBC an agency for the means testing of elderly pensioners.”
A licence for a colour television costs £154.50 a year while a black and white television licence costs £52.