BBC TV Licence fee to increase to £159 from April

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The annual TV Licence fee is set to increase with a rise coming in April.

The cost will go up from £157.50 to £159 from April 1 2021.

The fee, which is set by the Government, was earmarked to rise in line with inflation, and will now equate to 43p per day, according to the BBC.

For this, working out at three pence a week, the BBC provides BBC iPlayer; the audio app BBC Sounds; one of the UK’s most popular websites; nine national TV channels plus regional programming; 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations as well as dedicated Nations radio services.

Government confirms TV Licence to rise in line with inflation: https://t.co/TqwFWQK1Ph

— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) February 8, 2021

The increase has been calculated by Government using the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation, measured as the average rate of CPI over the last 12 months to September 2020, which works out at 1.075%.

Those buying or renewing a licence after April 1 2021 will pay the new fee, while those already buying a licence on an instalment scheme which started before that date, such as via a monthly direct debit or weekly cash payments, will continue to make payments totalling £157.50 until their licence comes up for renewal.

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The cost of an annual black and white licence will rise from £53.00 to £53.50.

The licence fee model has come under fire recently amidst criticism of the broadcaster over equal pay, diversity and competition from streaming services such as Netflix, as well as the abolition of free TV licences for all over-75s.

BBC iPlayer’s TV licence page (Philip Toscano/PA)

Last year the BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie said the licence fee model was the best way of funding the BBC.

He told an Ofcom conference: “I haven’t seen a model that beats the current one at the moment, a universally funded licence fee.

“The vast majority of households think it offers very good value. That’s what the BBC needs to focus on. Under my leadership, we’ll focus on that.”

Last month the Government said it is not going ahead with plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee but will keep the issue under “active consideration”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said switching to a civil enforcement system risked being seen as an “invitation” to evade the fee and could ultimately reward those who declined to pay.

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But he said the Government remained concerned that a criminal sanction was “disproportionate and unfair” in the current public service broadcasting landscape.

The BBC has previously warned that decriminalising licence fee evasion and switching to a civil system would cost it more than £1 billion and lead to significant cuts to programmes and services.

Information on how to pay for your TV Licence can be found at: www.tvlicensing.co.uk

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