Wednesday, 24 July 2013

TV licensing unfair to sheltered tenants who miss out on concessionary scheme

I have criticised the way the concessionary TV licence scheme for people in sheltered housing operates as it is being denied to significant numbers of people in sheltered housing in the city.

The Sheltered Housing Concessionary TV Licence Scheme should apply to people in sheltered housing who are under 75 (all people over 75 do not have to pay a TV licence fee) and gives them a lower fee of £7.50 per year.   However, there are numerous anomalies in this concessionary scheme which mean that some people in sheltered housing who it would have been expected would qualify are being denied a concessionary (ARC) licence and are being expected to pay the full £145.50 annual licence.

I have now taken up the matter with TV Licensing following concerns raised by sheltered tenants in parts of the Logie Estate.    Parts of the sheltered housing here qualify and other streets do not and I am arguing that all the sheltered tenants in the estate should qualify for the cheaper licence.

I initially took up the matter with the City Council’s Housing Department and was advised by a senior officer:

“TV Licencing were given a list of all our sheltered properties some time ago and they drew up a series of designated areas across the city. As long as all the properties within a designated area remained sheltered, all incoming tenants would be entitled to a discounted licence.

However when all the properties in a designated area are no longer sheltered, incoming tenants no longer qualify for a discount (unless they are over 75 and/or visually impaired). Crucially, though, although the designated area no longer has an entitlement to a discount on the grounds that not all properties are sheltered, existing sheltered tenants in that area who already receive the discount, have that right preserved i.e. Preserved Rights.

Just to further complicate matters, there are a few complexes where part of the complex retains the entitlement to discount and the remaining part does not. The remaining part only has Preserved Rights. This is because of the way TV Licensing has drawn the boundaries of their designated areas. Logie Sheltered Housing falls into this category. Some of the streets in Logie are entitled to a discount, whereas others will not.”

The principle of the concessionary TV licence was that it would recognise the special circumstances of elderly people in sheltered housing and their particular needs and it is not fair that some sheltered tenants are not receiving the benefit.   

I have therefore taken up the matter with TV licencing and asked them to review the streets in the Logie Sheltered Housing that are not currently being given the ARC or lower licence with a view to giving them this right.