The Isle of Man Government’s policy of mirroring the UK Government’s approach to the pensions triple lock will continue to be supported in next year’s Budget.
Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson MHK made the announcement today while highlighting a series of targeted support measures to help the most vulnerable in our community with the cost of living this winter.
The UK Government is expected to reveal in the coming weeks its position on the triple lock arrangement, which has been in place since 2010.
Minister Allinson said:
‘Today’s announcement is aimed at providing pensioners with reassurance on the issue as we head into winter. The matter has been considered carefully and will be subject to a further comprehensive review after April in terms of looking at how rises will be calculated going forward.’
Support measures to assist the vulnerable and those on low incomes this winter will be brought to the November sitting of Tynwald.
The Winter Bonus will be reintroduced after being suspended for a year while Energy Support Payments were instead provided to help more people in receipt of low income benefits with extraordinary increases in domestic fuel costs.
The winter bonus, which is payable to certain people who get income support, is normally worth £350 but may be reduced if an individual shares responsibility for the payment of housing costs. Payments will be made automatically to those who qualify.
Further details, including qualifying criteria, can be found on the dedicated Winter Bonus page on the Isle of Man Government website.
A Christmas Bonus of £40 will be paid to people who receive state pensions and certain other benefit payments for any day in the week beginning with the last Monday in November. The Christmas Bonus is payable to a wider range of beneficiaries in the Isle of Man than in the UK, where the payment is £10, in particular certain people under state pension age who get Income Support or Employed Person’s Allowance.
Minister Allinson added:
‘The Treasury is committed to supporting the most vulnerable members of our society with appropriate assistance to help meet living costs. The two bonus payments being brought forward next month are targeted at those who need it most, putting £1.8m in people’s pockets: the Winter Bonus is expected to cost £800,000 and reach more than 900 pensioners and 1,350 working people; while the Christmas Bonus will benefit 25,000 individuals or families and cost around £1 million.’
The provision of free TV licences for all residents aged 75 and over will be extended until the end of 2024. The existing arrangement was set to expire on 31 December 2023 but will now run for a further 12 months.
The BBC has funded licences for pensioners who qualify for income support since 01 January 2021, benefiting around 500 households locally. There are approximately 5,000 households with a person aged 75 or over in the Island who does not receive income support and whose licences are paid for by the Isle of Man Government.
Minister Allison said:
‘It is hoped that this further extension will reassure those affected as well as enabling them to stay continue using their television sets without any financial burden. It must be noted that a review of the provision for those who don’t receive income support is under way, with the intention of exploring options around the introduction of additional eligibility criteria when the present arrangement expires on 31 December 2024.’