BBC puts fairness and parity at the centre of over 75s licence fee decision
in Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man
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The BBC Board has announced its decision to fund TV licences for the poorest, older pensioners in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man from 1 January 2021.
The new schemes will bring parity with licence fee payers in the UK and is the fairest decision for all licence fee payers.
The Board’s decision follows a public consultation in the islands and recognises that, while each island has its own system of government and circumstances, by convention residents are treated with parity to those in the UK. Consistent with the UK decision, the BBC will not be making assessments about an individual’s ability to pay as the new schemes will use the islands’ existing welfare criteria to determine eligibility.
Notes to editors
The BBC recognised that, while each Crown Dependency is a separate territory with its own system of government and circumstances, by convention the aim is that its residents are treated with parity to those in the UK in respect of TV licence rules and BBC provision. The Board’s view is that this is a fair approach.
The BBC held a consultation between 30 July and 10 September 2020 to seek feedback on proposals for age-related licence fee policies in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man (the Crown Dependencies). The consultation included a draft Equality Impact Assessment for each territory. Responses from organisations and a summary of the responses can be found below.
The BBC’s initial thinking was that due to the lack of a formal welfare system in Sark, there would not be a scheme for over 75 residents on the island. Following representation made as part of the consultation, the BBC will provide free TV licences for over 75s in Sark in receipt of financial assistance from the Procureur of Sark.
The full rationale for the BBC’s policy on over 75’s in the Crown Dependencies is set out in the BBC’s Decision Document. In taking this decision, the Board was guided by three key principles:
Fairness - the potential impact on older age groups and the potential impact on all licence fee payers
Financial impact - the cost of any concession to the BBC, and the possible effect this might have on programmes and services
Feasibility - being able to implement any new concession simply and effectively
The Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man Governments 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 the concession the BBC has decided to fund.
The total cost to the BBC of these new schemes will be an estimated £425,000 a year, before implementation costs.
For those who now need to pay, TV Licensing will write to them setting out what they need to do next with full details of the payment schemes available which can be made in a Covid-safe way
When making their decision, the BBC Board applied the same criteria as when making the decision for the UK based on fairness, financial impact and feasibility. The BBC Board considered fairness to all licence fee payers, including over 75s, in the Crown Dependencies and in the UK.
The BBC Board has decided that the BBC will fund the following concessions:
In Guernsey and Alderney the BBC will pay for free TV licences for those residents who are over 75 and qualify for Income Support
In Sark the BBC will pay for free TV licences for those residents who are over 75 and are in receipt of financial assistance from the Procureur of Sark
In Jersey, the BBC will pay for free TV licences for those residents who are over 75 and are assessed as eligible for a free TV licence under the means-tested TV licence benefit scheme introduced by the Jersey Government in 2006
In the Isle of Man, the BBC will pay for free TV licences for those residents who are over 75 and qualify for Income Support
The decision follows the request of the Governments of Guernsey, Sark, Jersey and the Isle of Man, for the UK government to extend the BBC’s power to determine a concession for older people in each Crown Dependency.
Source BBC One
October 27, 2020 7:10am ET by BBC One