The cost of an annual BBC licence fee is due to rise in April – but we don’t know by how much just yet.
The Government is responsible for setting the level of the licence fee, and announced in January 2022 that it would remain unchanged at £159 for two years, followed by annual rises in line with inflation for four years from 1 April 2024.
But the Government has yet to confirm which measure of inflation would be used to calculate the rise.
The Sunday Times reported that the Government is considering using September’s consumer price index (CPI) rate of inflation, rather than the higher 12-month average, to calculate how much the cost of the licence fee should rise by.
Using September’s inflation rate of 6.7%, the licence fee would be expected to rise by £10.65 to £169.65 per year.
But other reports predict the licence fee could go up to £173.30 a year, which is almost a £15 rise.
To raise or not to raise?
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer was asked by BBC Breakfast whether the Government was looking at whether £15 would be too much of an increase. She replied: “Absolutely. I think that is quite a significant rise, so that is exactly what we are looking at.
“We froze the licence fee for two years to help households with their daily payments. That freeze has come to an end and the licence fee is due to rise with inflation but we’re looking at ways to make sure that is sustainable for families across the country.”
Frazer confirmed she would make the final decision on what the fee should be soon. She also said she was looking at “how we fund the BBC going forward”, describing the current model as “unsustainable” because 400,000 people did not renew their licence fee over the past year, as they switched to streaming TV services instead.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been quoted as saying the BBC should be “realistic about what it can expect people to pay” for the TV licence fee during times of high inflation.
Former head of BBC TV News, Roger Mosey, told BBC Radio 5 Live today (Monday) that the “Government should stick with the deal it made” and increase the licence fee in line with inflation, saying it was unfair for “the most important broadcaster in Britain to be punished”.