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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Isle of Man Scraps Free Over-75 TV Licences


The Isle of Man Government will scrap "free" TV licences for the over-75s later this year.

From 1st September 2016 households with at least one over-75 occupier, which are currently eligible for a TV licence paid for the state, will have to pay the normal £145.50 fee like everyone else.

However, those in receipt of income support will still be eligible to apply for the concession under a local scheme.

Bill Henderson MLC, political member of the Treasury with responsibility for Social Security, said: "Since the beginning of 2002, anyone aged 75 or over has been eligible to receive a free TV licence, irrespective of their means. The same arrangement exists in the UK. However, the cost to the taxpayer of £700,000 a year is no longer affordable and cannot be justified."

"However, pensioners who receive income support are eligible to have the cost of their TV licence paid for through an existing social security scheme. We will shortly be writing to those who receive income support to tell them this and how to get help under that scheme. We will also be writing to the over 75s who don’t get income support, encouraging those on low incomes to make enquiries about their potential entitlement to income support, and therefore potentially accessing help with paying for their TV licences too."

The BBC, which will shortly take on full responsibility for funding the over-75 TV licence, is currently exploring methods to reduce the £750m annual bill incurred by UK over-75s. One proposal is to ask over-75s to voluntarily pay the TV licence fee; another option is to change the eligibility criteria, so that only those households consisting entirely of over-75 occupiers can benefit.

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