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Licence fee: BBC to fund some over-75s licence fees in Crown Dependencies

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image captionOnly over-75s receiving income support will qualify for free licence fees from 1 January

TV licence fees for some pensioners over the age of 75 in the Crown Dependencies will be funded by the BBC.

The subsidy applies to residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man who meet the welfare criteria of each island, the BBC said.

The decision means over-75s not eligible for support will have to pay the licence fee from 1 January.

It will bring the jurisdictions in line with the UK after the universal scheme ended in July.

The BBC will not make assessments about who can pay and laid out the criteria for eligibility in each jurisdiction:

  • Guernsey and Alderney - Residents over 75 who qualify for Income Support
  • Sark - Anyone older than 75 and are receiving financial assistance from the Procureur of Sark
  • Jersey - People who are over 75 and are eligible for a free TV licence under the Government of Jersey's means-tested TV licence benefit scheme
  • Isle of Man - Residents who are over 75 and qualify for Income Support

The corporation's board said it made the decision after requests to extend the free licence fee scheme from all three governments and a public consultation.

The board recognised that convention meant treating the residents of the islands the same as those in the UK, despite each being self-governing jurisdictions.

The board added it had "applied the same criteria" as making the decision for the UK, based on "fairness, financial impact and feasibility".

The Guernsey States said the decision meant from 1 January 2021 about 3,000 islanders would no longer be eligible for a free licence.

It said it would continue to fund free TV licences for those who receive Income Support and are over pensionable age but under 75.

Isle of Man Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said the island's government would now "determine the position" of those not on income support and hoped to have a decision by the end of the week.

The Government of Jersey has been approached for comment.

Related Topics

  • BBC
  • Sark
  • UK TV licence fee
  • Alderney

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