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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Government confirms TV Licence to rise in line with inflation

The Government has confirmed that from 1 April 2021 the cost of the annual television licence fee will increase from £157.50 to £159.00

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.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The increase is equivalent to less than 3p a week with the overall cost of a licence equating to just 43p a day. For this, the BBC provides BBC iPlayer; the audio app BBC Sounds; one of the UK’s most popular websites; nine national TV channels plus regional programming; 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations as well as dedicated Nations radio services.

“Our programmes and services have been at heart of UK life for almost a century and never more so than in such an unprecedented year. Each week 91% of UK adults come to the BBC, with an average of 5 million people using our services every single minute of the day and night, across TV, radio, and online. In the past year:

  • BBC iPlayer set new records with over 5 billion requests for content

  • BBC Sounds had over 1.1 billion UK plays of radio, music and podcasts in 2020

  • CBBC and CBeebies broke records with 40.8m BBC iPlayer requests in the week 11-17 January as children turn to the BBC for education and entertainment during lockdown

  • In January this year, the BBC expanded its lockdown education offer in response to nationwide school closures with daily lessons and content for primary and secondary pupils on CBBC, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. The BBC Bitesize website also attracted 5.8m users in the first week of January

  • BBC News has been relied upon by the nation throughout the year with BBC News Online seeing 81.2million UK unique browsers visiting BBC News sites in one week alone in March

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.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) laid a Statutory Instrument to Parliament, introducing the licence fee increase.

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 set, computer, or any other equipment. For more information about when a licence is needed, visit

The increase has been calculated by Government using the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation, measured as the average rate of CPI over the last 12 months to September 2020, which works out at 1.075%.

The cost of an annual black and white licence will rise from £53.00 to £53.50. Those who are blind (severely sight impaired) are entitled to a 50% concession on the cost of a licence. From 1 April 2020, this amount will be £79.50, a rise of £0.75. There is no change to the Accommodation for Residential Care concession, which is available to people living in certain types of residential care accommodation, which may include care homes or sheltered housing.

From 1 August 2021 anyone aged 75 or over receiving Pension Credit is eligible to apply for a free TV Licence, and the increase does not have any impact on this. Pension Credit can be in the name of the licence holder, or in their partner’s name if they are a couple and living at the same address. If Pension Credit is not being received, then the TV Licence will need to be paid for.

TV Licensing provides a range of ways to pay, including small weekly cash payments and annual direct debit. Payers can view their details on line at any time, and can choose to receive correspondence from TV Licensing by email rather than by post.


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