From 1 April this year Island residents who are age 75 and over will once again start to receive TV licences free of charge from TV Licensing. They will receive their free licence shortly before their current licence expires.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:
“This is the successful outcome of our discussions with the BBC and the UK Government. It is great news for our elderly pensioners. It means they will no longer need to purchase TV licences themselves and claim the money back from the Treasury. Restoring the TV licence concession for over 75s was an early commitment of this Government and I welcome the progress that has been achieved.”
Ralph Peake MHK, Member of the Treasury with responsibility for Social Security, added:
“Treasury officers are working with TV Licensing to ensure they have all the information necessary to issue licences to the over 75s at the appropriate time. Those whose licences are due for renewal on or after 1 April 2018 do not need to renew their licences themselves.”
Eligible pensioners whose TV licence needs to be renewed before that date should still buy their licence and claim the cost from Treasury under the current rebate scheme.
There will be no change for pensioners under the age of 75 from April. Those who receive income support will continue to be eligible to claim rebates from the Treasury.
There is also no change for those who pay accommodation for residential care (ARC) licences.
- The reinstated concession for the over 75s is set out in UK legislation (the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004, as amended), which extends to the Island
- At the request of the Isle of Man Government, Isle of Man residents were removed from the concession from 1 September 2016. From that point only pensioners who were entitled to income support (a means-tested social security benefit) were eligible for help with paying for their TV licence, under a local scheme
- Following the Isle of Man General Election in September 2016, the new administration reversed the policy previously agreed by Tynwald as part of the 2015 Budget. A new TV Licence Payments scheme was introduced with effect from 1 December 2016 (but backdated to 1 September 2016) which allowed for the over 75s to claim the cost of their licence from the Treasury, irrespective of their means. Pensioners under 75 could also claim if they are entitled to income support
- Around 5,000 Isle of Man pensioner households who are liable to pay a “General Form” TV licence benefit from this scheme, at an annual cost of c. £750,000 per year
- In addition, rebates for Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) TV licences are made under the scheme, worth approximately £3,500 per year
- Consequent on the re-instatement of the concession for the over 75s resident in the IoM from 1 April 2018, the TV Licence Payments scheme will be amended to remove provision for the over 75s, as it is no longer necessary. Approval to an amendment Order will be sought at the March sitting of Tynwald.