Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

TV licences: Manx treasury to 'seek clarity' on fee for over-75s

Isle of Man Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK Image copyright IOM GOV
Image caption Mr Cannan said clarity over eligibility for a free TV licence in the island was needed

The government will "seek some clarification" over the BBC's decision to scrap free TV licences for over-75s, the Manx treasury minister has said.

Plans announced by the corporation this week mean, from June 2020, only low-income households will not have to pay.

Alfred Cannan MHK said the decision to "pass the buck back to the government" was "incredibly disappointing".

He said clarity was needed as the Manx benefits system differs from that in the UK.

"We need to understand what impact that [decision] has on the island because we pay our pensioners an income support amount, which is slightly different to the pension credit that they get in the UK," Mr Cannan said.

Currently, the £850,000 cost of free TV licences for those aged over 75 on the island is met by the Isle of Man treasury, but was due to be covered by the BBC from 2020.

Mr Cannan said the government needed to "understand with certainty what the BBC's plans are going forward" before a decision on continuing to pay the figure would be made.

"We want a period of discussion with the BBC now... once we fully understand that proposal, I'll be in a position to add clarity as to what we intend to do about it," Mr Cannan added.

A BBC spokeswoman said now the corporation's board had made its decision for the UK, "we will work to find a solution for the future of a BBC-funded concession in the Isle of Man".

"Helen Thomas, Director BBC England and the Crown Dependencies, has written to the Chief Minister this week and will look forward to discussing considerations with the Isle of Man Government as soon as possible."

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