Annual TV licence fee to rise from 1 April this year

3 February 2020, 20:10

The TV licence is set for an annual price hike of £3 in April
The TV licence is set for an annual price hike of £3 in April. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The annual TV licence fee is set to rise by £3 from 1 April, the BBC has said.

Monday's announcement means the fee will increase from £154.50 to £157.50. This equates to £3.02 per week or £13.13 per month.

The price is set by the government, who announced in 2016 that it would be hiked in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.

April's fee rise will not affect the free licence given to the over-75s.

Black and white television licences will rise by £1 to £53.

The new TV licence cost will equate to £13.13 per month, the BBC confirmed
The new TV licence cost will equate to £13.13 per month, the BBC confirmed. Picture: PA

The BBC provides nine national TV channels, alongside its comprehensive regional programming, as well as 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations, news and sport websites, and the iPlayer.

Today's announcement comes as a number of cuts were announced last week. These will be made to Newsnight, 5Live and other shows as part of a drive to save money.

The BBC's plans to "modernise its newsroom" will save around £80 million and lead to around 450 job cuts, the broadcaster said.

Last week, Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker said that buying a TV licence should not be compulsory.

He said that if you made purchasing the licence optional, "you would lose some people, but at the same time you'd up the price a bit."

"(The licence fee) is the price of a cup of coffee a week at the moment. If you put it up you could help older people, or those that can't afford it," Lineker added.

Age UK said the the increase would be a further knock to elderly viewers
Age UK said the the increase would be a further knock to elderly viewers. Picture: PA

The corporation's outgoing director-general, Lord Tony Hall, previously defended the licence fee model, saying last month that the licence fee "guarantees ... commitment to creativity and risk-taking".

He added that "because we are funded by everyone, we must offer something outstanding for everyone".

Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan said in January that decriminalising the non-payment of the licence fee would require legislation and "lots of consultation."

She added: "We do believe it's right to look again at whether criminal sanctions remain appropriate for TV licence evasion, given ongoing concerns about whether the criminal sanction is unfair and disproportionate."

The price rise was criticised by charity Age UK, which said the increase would be a further knock to elderly viewers.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity's director, said: "A £3 a year increase to the TV licence fee may not sound much but will be yet another blow to the hundreds of thousands of over-75s who will struggle to afford a TV licence from June."

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