The States of Alderney have had 'no choice' but to scrap free TV licences for residents turning 75, as the benefit is stopped elsewhere too.
It's been announced that people reaching the age of 75 will have to pay for their TV licence from June 1 next year, unless they are on means-tested income support.
Currently, over-75’s get a free TV Licence and those who are currently eligible will continue to do so.
The Policy & Finance Committee has said it "had no choice but to go along with a proposition by the States of Guernsey to end the concession".
The move actually follows the UK Government’s decision back in 2015 to transfer responsibility for free TV licences to the BBC. The BBC then announced it would no longer subsidise the licence fee for over-75s, apart from those on Pension Credit. As Guernsey and Alderney have no equivalent to Pension Credit, only those on means-tested benefits will be eligible in future.
Pictured: Those currently eligible will continue to receive a free TV Licence, but the scheme will be closed to those turning 75 after next June.
The States of Alderney has said:
"There are no plans to alter a separate States of Guernsey-funded scheme to provide a free TV licence to residents over pensionable age – currently 65 – who are on income support. The cost of this scheme is funded by Guernsey’s Committee for Employment & Social Security which is now expected to cover the additional cost of free licences for over-75s on income support."
This means that many of Alderney’s population who reach the age of 75 will now have to pay for their TV licence.
A phased transition funded jointly by Guernsey and the BBC has been in operation since 2016. Those reaching their 75th birthday after September 1 2016 were not eligible for a free licence although those who were already in receipt of one before then continued to enjoy a free licence.
Pictured: James Dent (file image, receiving a petition on a separate matter).
Guernsey’s Policy & Resources Committee consulted the States of Alderney about the implications for over-75s on the island.
James Dent, Chairman of Policy & Finance, said: “While it is unfortunate for those who would currently have received a free licence when they reach the age of 75, we recognise that the BBC Charter means we have to treat people the same way as those in the UK are treated. We have no choice but to go along with it.”
Pictured top: Those currently eligible will continue to receive a free TV Licence, but the scheme will be closed to those turning 75 after next June.
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