HOW can we save Granny and Grandad from TV Licensing?

How can we protect our elderly loved ones from having their homes invaded, being hauled into court, being humiliated, being ordered to pay a big fine and possibly being thrown into dank cells if they can’t pay?

That’s a question many are pondering following the decision to make all but the very poorest over-75s pay the full whack of £154.50, even though they’ve been exempt for years.

At least it’ll take the senior citizens’ minds off other day-to-day concerns for a while - concerns such as being wary of seeking medical assistance in case they’re whisked into a home and obliged to flog their own home to the highest bidder to pay the costs.

Or that tricky calculation of how much they’ll be able to eat this winter before they have to choose between food and heat.

Or the many other budgetary puzzles which are part and parcel of living in a country where the state pension is among the lowest in the developed world.

There’s a certain logic to making them cough up for TV licences, though. It’s a horrible, cynical logic, to be sure, but it makes perfect sense.

Licence revenues are down thanks to millions of people realising there are all manner of licence-free subscription services, offering great alternatives to what used to be called terrestrial TV.

Programmes made by those services tend to be of better quality because they live or die according to the number of viewers prepared to sign up and hand over their dosh. No customer is legally obliged to sign up, and that tends to sharpen creative minds wonderfully.

You’d be hard-pushed to find, for example, a drama that’s a load of derivative mince, much less a comedy which is about as funny as ritual disembowelment, but was nevertheless commissioned because somebody - or their Mummy or Daddy - comes from the same fortunate social background as a decision-maker.

According to figures released by one of the most popular services, less than 15 percent of subscribers are aged 55 or over, never mind 75 or over.

Perhaps some of those elderly people are happy as they are, even if it means buying a licence for the first time in ages. Perhaps some of them are extremely unhappy but reluctant to make a change because they believe doing so would be too complicated or too expensive.

Perhaps, therefore, it’s time for every organisation working on behalf of elderly people to prepare information sheets explaining how simple it is to switch - and that the first month or so is usually free of cost or obligation.

Perhaps is is time for anybody with an elderly relative to sit down with them and explain the alternatives, some of which cost less than 50 percent over the course of a year than they would spend on a licence.

Perhaps, for that matter, it is time for everybody with an elderly loved one affected by the change to assess their own viewing habits and consider whether they themselves should ditch anything requiring a licence.

Were two or three people for each affected loved one to do this, or threaten to do it, perhaps the decision might be reversed.

While we’re at it, we might get in touch with every local politician and political party and let them know that unless they condemn this situation and vow to change it, we’d no more support them at the ballot box than we would the Antichrist.

Incidentally, if you’re over 75 and happen to be reading this, please remember that unless the TV Licensing inspectors turn up with a warrant, you are perfectly entitled to close the door on them without saying a word.