Many over-75 TV licence holders on the Isle of Man are confused by new rules, which have seen their entitlement to a "free" TV licence removed and then effectively reinstated within the space of three months.
From 1st September 2016 the Isle of Man Government stopped paying the £145.50 TV licence fee for every eligible household with at least one occupant aged 75 years or older.
There were around 5,000 households on the Island benefiting from the concession, which cost the Government around £700,000. The Government said it wanted to make this saving in an effort to "rebalance the public finances and target its resources to protect the most vulnerable".
The Isle of Man Government said it would continue to fund the "free" over-75 TV licences for any household where at least one of the occupants was in receipt of income support. That would account for around 700 households on the Island.
The Government's decision to stop funding all over-75 TV licences was met with disapproval, as you might expect, by the occupiers of those households that were previously benefitting from the concession.
The Government recently buckled to the grey vote, with the announcement that from 1st December 2016 every over-75 household would be able to claim reimbursement of the £145.50 TV licence fee from the Island's Social Security Division.
There is consternation on the Island that a lot of elderly folk may have forked out £145.50 for a TV licence between 1st September and 1st December 2016. Anyone in that situation would not be eligible to claim reimbursement under the new rules.
Carol Garrett, whose 93-year-old mother lives in Douglas, told the Manx Independent of her frustration in dealing with TV Licensing. Her mother received TV Licensing threatograms threatening her with £1,000 fine and even prison if she didn't pay the TV licence fee.
She said: "I think many will have received letters and telephone calls from the TV licensing authorities as they are clamping down on non-payers, particularly since the end of September when anyone viewing on line must also pay."
This is not the first time we have heard about TV Licensing threatening the elderly, infirm and vulnerable, as a quick search will confirm. It would appear that TV Licensing is happy to intimidate money out of people whatever their circumstances.
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