BBC announces licence fee funding scheme for over-75s in Crown dependencies

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

The BBC has said it will pay for TV licences for some over-75s in Guernsey, Sark, Jersey and the Isle of Man who receive Government financial support.

The move aims to give residents of the islands “parity” with licence fee payers in the UK.

The universal right to a free TV licence ended in August for those over the age of 75. But UK residents who receive pension credits are still entitled to the benefit.

The corporation will use existing welfare criteria within the Crown dependencies to assess whether pensioners who fall within the age category are eligible for a free licence.

The BBC said in a statement that the move is the “fairest decision for all licence fee payers”.

In Guernsey and Alderney, the BBC will pay for free TV licences for residents who are over 75 and qualify for Income Support.

In Sark, those in the age category who are in receipt of financial assistance from the Procureur of Sark will be eligible.

BBC Director General
BBC director-general Tim Davie (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Jersey’s over-75s who are assessed as being entitled to a free TV licence under the means-tested TV licence benefit scheme introduced by the Jersey Government in 2006 will be able to access BBC content for free.

In the Isle of Man, the BBC will pay for free licences for those in the age category who qualify for Income Support.

The BBC originally planned to stop providing free TV licences for pensioners in June. But the move was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the corporation’s new director-general Tim Davie told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee he would not automatically suspend TV licence fee charges for over-75s in the event of further lockdowns.