UK TV licence fee
A BBC consultation on licence fees for older people in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man is due to close on 10 September, the corporation says.
In the UK, the BBC ended free TV licences for most over-75s at the beginning of August because of savings pressures. Those who receive the Pension Credit benefit are exempt.
The governments of the Crown Dependencies asked the BBC to determine a concession for older people to be extended to Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man too, it said.
The BBC said the "current thinking" was to fund free TV licences "for the poorest pensioners aged over 75 in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man" and that "determination of who would be eligible for a free TV licence paid for by the BBC would be decided using existing income criteria set by the respective governments wherever possible".
It said it was carrying out the consultation, which began at the end of July, as a "final opportunity for people, stakeholders and organisations to provide the BBC Board with any information they think should be taken into account, especially information specific to the territory concerned".
The BBC added: "The Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man governments will retain local powers to set and fund welfare benefits, including for TV licences. That means they can pay for any further concessions they wish to, in addition to whatever concession the BBC decides."Copyright: TV Licensing
Outgoing BBC director general Lord Tony Hall spoke about the negotiations with the government around removing free licences for over-75's.
The BBC has launched a consultation on free licence fees for older people in Guernsey and Jersey, which will run until 10 September.
The BBC Board decided from 1 August 2020 any UK household with someone aged over 75 who receives pension credit will be entitled to afree TV licence paid for by the BBC.
This followed the UK government's withdrawal of funding for the scheme in 2015 and Parliament putting the decision in the BBC Board's hands in 2017.
The BBC said it had a responsibility to determine whether a concession for older people should be extended to Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, following requests from the government of each Crown Dependency.
Each government will be able to offer further concessions via its own benefits system if they choose to, the BBC said.
The corporation added its current view is to fund a similar concession for older people in the islands as the UK, based on local income criteria where possible.
Two out of five pensioners entitled to pension credit are not claiming it as they do not know how to, or feel embarrassed, an MP claims.
The government has no say on BBC decisions about programming, staffing, or administering the licence fee, says the media minister.
The end of free TV licences for most people over 75 has been greeted with dismay by an organisation that supports elderly people in Cumbria.
The BBC was given responsibility for TV licence concessions by George Osborne when he was chancellor, and says that to pay the entire cost of free provision would mean the closure of BBC Two, BBC Four, the BBC News channel, the BBC Scotland channel, BBC Radio 5 Live, and a number of local radio stations.
Only those in a home where someone receives Pension Credit will still get a free licence and Jane Mindar, the deputy chief executive of Age UK West Cumbria, believes it could have been done differently.Copyright: PA MediaQuote Message: I'd rather I was paying a bit more and people on low incomes weren't - activating the cuts now isn't great news, we're getting a lot of calls about isolated people." from Jane Mindar