TV licence fee to increase from April 1 for first time in nine years

The television licence fee will rise to £147 from the start of April, the government has said. It will be the first time the fee has increased since 2010.

People wanting to watch and record television, and people who choose to watch shows on the BBC's catch-up service, will have to pay to do so legally.

The fee will increase from its current rate of £145.50 a year.

Last year the government announced that the licence fee would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 1, 2017.

The requirement for a TV licence was extended to all catch-up programmes through iPlayer under a change of rules in September.

The licence fee will increase to £147 a year from 1 April. Credit: PA

Those over 75 can still apply for a free licence while the cost of an annual black and white licence will rise from £49 to £49.50.

News of the rise comes days after the BBC faced claims that its staff outsourced for licence fee enforcement were being excessively aggressive with vulnerable people who had not paid.

The broadcaster has called for an investigation and said that staff at Capita - who hold the enforcement contract with the BBC - had "fallen short," of expectations.

Director general Tony Hall also asked for "urgent clarification and reassurance," that vulnerable people were not being "targeted."

Capita said its staff follow a strict code of conduct.