A Treasury scheme to restore the provision of free TV licences for all pensioners aged 75 and over will be moved for approval at the November sitting of Tynwald.
The scheme will enable such pensioners to claim a payment from Social Security to cover the cost of their TV licence. It will also apply to pensioners under 75 who receive income support.
The proposal is different from the previous system, whereby over-75s in the Isle of Man were exempted from paying for their TV licences as the Manx Government paid the BBC the cost of the exemption. The UK statutory concession under which the exemption operated has now ended.
Subject to Tynwald approval, the new scheme will require eligible pensioners to make a claim to Social Security for a payment equal to the cost of their licence. They will need to complete a straightforward form, which will be sent to them automatically, and submit it together with their TV licence renewal notice, or the licence itself if they have already paid for it. Social Security will then make a payment to them in the same way as they are paid their state pension.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK explained:
‘The payment will need to be claimed each year, around the time the licence is due for renewal. The fact that a claim can be made on production of a renewal notice means that pensioners will not have to pay for a licence out of their own money.
‘The new scheme also enables those aged 75 or over who have paid for their licences since 1 September this year, when the former concession ended, to apply to have the cost of their licences fully refunded. And it provides for people who are aged 74 when they buy their licence to receive a pro rata payment for the period from their 75th birthday to the date the licence ends.
‘If the new scheme is approved Social Security will be writing to all households with a person aged 75 or over to explain the changes and provide them with a claim form.’