People who are blind (severely sight impaired), or live with someone who is, should make sure they aren’t missing out on a concessionary TV Licence which allows them to save 50% on the cost.
TV Licensing has been working with RNIB Scotland to make sure anyone who is eligible to receive the concession is aware and takes advantage of the reduced TV Licence fee.
There are 12 blind licences in force in Ellon. Nationally, the number of blind concessionary licences has risen by 4% this year, with 41,392blind concessionary licences issued in the UK1, up from 39,700, the previous year.
Increasing numbers of BBC shows are provided with Audio Description (AD), with over 20% of BBC output now audio-described – above the target of 10% set for broadcasters by Ofcom. The service on digital TV, which allows you to hear a verbal description of what is happening on screen in between the dialogue, makes programmes more accessible to people with sight loss.
Audio-described programmes are available across a range of genres. The Vikings Uncovered was the most watched audio-described show of the last three months2, with over 19,000 audio-described downloads of this history documentary. Louis Theroux’s Drinking to Oblivion was the second most watched show, with over 18,000 downloads. The Great British Sewing Bee also proved to be a hit with AD viewers, with 16,640 downloads.
As well as those who are blind (severely sight impaired), live-in carers or family members could also benefit from the concession and enjoy AD programming themselves. A blind concession TV Licence costs £72.75 for colour and £24.50 for a black and white TV Licence.
Fergus Reid, spokesperson for TV Licensing said: “If you live with someone who is blind, they are entitled to a concessionary TV Licence, which is half the price of a full fee licence. This will cover you, as well as anyone else living in your household. There is a range of ways to pay - online with a debit or card, monthly or quarterly direct debit, over-the-counter and by phone or post.”
Ian Brown, senior communications officer at RNIB Scotland said: "To be excluded from television means being cut off from a major source of news and entertainment, one that still helps shape so much of our social conversation. But with more and more programmes audio-described, and available on different platforms, it is now a medium that has become much more accessible to people with sight loss.
"They are, however, deprived of the visual dimension of television. So it is fair that people who are blind (severely sight impaired) are eligible for lower license fees to offset this, as many of whom are on low incomes."
If you live with someone who is eligible and already have a full fee TV Licence in your name, you can transfer the licence to the name of the person who registered as severely sight impaired and halve the cost. To do this, simply fill in the form available attvlicensing.co.uk/blind or contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 0366.
Those who use a digital box used to produce sound only, do not require a TV Licence provided it cannot display TV programmes. Anyone who does not watch or record live TV on any device can let TV Licensing know by completing an online declaration attvlicensing.co.uk/nln.
Anyone affected by sight loss can get TV Licensing information by email or in Braille, large print or audio by calling 0300 555 0300. An audio podcast about the concession is available online ataudioboo.com/tvlicensing.