BBC TV licence fee rises again from April

The BBC's TV licence fee will rise from April, it has been announced Credit: PA

The annual television licence fee will increase by £1.50 from April, it has been announced.

This means the cost of a TV licence for a year will rise from £157.50 to £159 from April 1. The new cost equates to 43p per day, the BBC said.

Audiences have to pay the fee to watch any live TV on any channel and device or to watch any shows on BBC iPlayer.

Last year, there was a bigger increase, when the cost went up £3 from £154.50.

The fee is set by the government, which announced in 2016 that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 2017.

Those buying or renewing a licence after April 1 will have to pay the new fee. Meanwhile, those already buying a licence on an instalment scheme which started before that date will continue to make payments totalling £157.50 until their licence comes up for renewal.

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

The fee, which the BBC relies on for funds, has been a point of contention in recent years.

In 2020, it was announced over-75s would have to pay for the licence from August.

Over-75s had previously been granted the TV licence for free. But the BBC said it could not afford to continue the universal benefit.

The broadcaster introduced means-testing in August 2020, after the move was delayed from its original June start date due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A protest against the withdrawal of the universal, free TV licence for over-75s Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

The free TV licence for over-75s was introduced by the government in 2000, but the BBC agreed to take on responsibility for funding the scheme in 2015.

The licence fee model has also come under fire recently. Last year, the BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie said the licence fee model was the best way of funding the BBC.

In January, the government said it would not go ahead with plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee.

But Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the government remained concerned a criminal sanction was “disproportionate and unfair”.

The BBC 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.