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Scrapping free TV licence for over-75s decision put on hold

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PEOPLE over the age of 75 do not need to worry for now about their concessionary TV licence, the Employment & Social Security president has said.

Employment & Social Security president Michelle Le Clerc has told those aged 75 and over not to worry about any changes to their free television licence in the immediate future because the BBC has delayed implementing its decision to scrap the idea due to the coronavirus situation. (Picture by Shutterstock)

The BBC board decided to cease funding concessionary licences for those aged 75 and over but this has been delayed for two months due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the essential role television plays in sharing information.

Guernsey has separate licensing agreements, however, and the Employment & Social Security committee currently funds licences for those who turned 75 before September 2016 and those over 75 who receive income support.

States officers were due to enter consultations with the BBC over the summer, but the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in them being postponed indefinitely, ESS president Michelle Le Clerc said.

‘The BBC informed officers last week that it intended to consult over the summer, with the BBC board then making a decision regarding concessionary TV licences for Guernsey in September of this year.

‘Based on information from the BBC, it had seemed likely that implementation of the BBC board’s decision would not begin until January 2021.

‘However, on Monday, the BBC announced that, in light of what it called exceptional circumstances relating to the outbreak of Covid-19, it will delay all licence fee changes for over-75s until 1 August.

‘The BBC and the UK government issued a joint statement that said they did not want “anyone to be worried about any potential change” at this time, acknowledging that the BBC will play a vital role in supplying information about the spread of coronavirus.

‘My committee likewise wants to reassure islanders aged over 75 that they do not need to worry about their TV licences at this time.

‘No policy decisions regarding TV licences will be made until the committee is in possession of all the facts and the postponed consultations with the BBC are completed.’

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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