NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
There was understandable annoyance amongst some senior citizens on the Isle of Man about the government’s decision to phase out free TV licences for those over 75 years of age.
In this regard the Island will now uniquely discriminate against this pensioner group as in both the UK and Ireland free licences will be maintained.
However equally there was a counter argument from a younger element in the community voicing the opinion why should comparatively well off pensioners get a ‘free pass’ on the licence.
Both arguments miss the point which is why do any Manx residents pay a licence to a UK broadcaster in the first place when the Island is not part of the United Kingdom?
Hundreds of thousands of people on the Continent and in Ireland are the lucky beneficiary of UK TV services but no sane person in those countries suggests they should pay the UK a levy
Equally a not inconsiderable group of people in the South and West of the Isle of Man, Wales and Scotland can receive TV services from the Irish Republic but no one puts a licence fee (currently 160 euro) in an envelope and sends it to Enda Kenny (An Taoiseach) in Dublin!
Our enquiries to the Isle of Man Communications Commission earlier this year indicate that far from it being a fact that the licence fee was levied here legitimately in the first instance no one seems to know how or why it occurred:
“b) Was the extension of the facility to levy a licence introduced at the request of the Government of the Isle of Man or was the move initiated by the United Kingdom?
As the UK Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1904 to 1926 were introduced long ago and at a different period in the Island’s history it is not possible to determine how the provisions were extended to the Isle of Man”.
Full reply at this link:
It is past time that Tynwald grasped the nettle and instead of giving 75 year old pensioners ‘a financial kicking’ they should tell the United Kingdom that agreements to collect broadcast licence fees here are to be terminated.
They should in effect have the political courage to do to the UK what it did to the Isle of Man when it slashed the VAT agreement.
What would the consequence be? Well the UK could close its transmitter facilities on the Island but that will not disrupt the TV service much of which (like the Irish Republic services to the West and South of the Ireland) comes in via overspill from UK transmitter sites.
Additionally it will not disrupt the availability of Freesat services which carry more channels that the current terrestrial transmitters.
The UK satellite services are broadcast on a ‘wide-beam’ covering all the British Isles and parts of the continent and there is no easy alternative to UK broadcasters. (Unlike Irish satellite which is broadcast via a spot-beam which restricts it to the Island of Ireland).
The retention of licence fees would also have the added advantage of releasing the £4 million pounds we currently ‘export to the UK’ into the Manx economy.
The question is have Tynwald got the courage? With the current ‘shower’ don’t hold your breath they prefer to kick pensioners!
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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