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TV licence fee to rise from £157.50 to £159 from April

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The £1.50 annual increase is in line with inflation and is equivalent to less than 3p a week.

The government, which is responsible for setting the level of the licence fee, announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.

The rises announced today, which come into effect on 1 April 2021, are calculated using an inflation figure of 1.075%, which was the average consumer prices index (CPI) inflation in the year to September 2020.

Those who are blind or severely sight impaired are entitled to a 50% discount meaning that from 1 April 2021, their licences will cost £79.50, a rise of 75p from £78.75.

Meanwhile, the cost of an annual black-and-white TV licence will rise by 50p from £53 to £53.50.

Since August 2020, everyone aged 75 or over now needs to pay for their TV licence. The only exception to this is if you claim pension credit, in which case you can get your licence for free

Following the government confirming the licence fee increase, people will receive a reminder or an updated payment plan reflecting the new amount when their licence is next due for renewal.

Those buying or renewing a licence after 1 April 2021 will pay the new fee.

Those already buying a licence on an instalment scheme which started before 1 April 2021, such as monthly direct debit or weekly cash payments, will continue to make payments totalling £157.50 until their licence comes up for renewal.

Anyone buying a new licence before 1 April 2021 will also pay the current rate.

Who needs a TV licence?

Anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, or watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer, needs to be covered by a licence.

This applies whether they are using a TV, computer, or any other equipment.

What does the TV licence pay for?

The TV licence pays for:

  • nine national TV channels plus regional programming
  • BBC iPlayer
  • audio app BBC Sounds
  • 10 national radio stations
  • 40 local radio stations
  • Nations radio services