Money Wellness
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calendar icon07 Dec 2023

TV licence fee to rise next year

The TV licence fee, which has been frozen for two years, is to rise to £169.50 the government has announced.

The 6.6% rise will see licences increase by £10.50, with the figure being based on September’s inflation figure instead of an average for the year.

The BBC wanted a far higher increase of around £15. The smaller rise will leave the BBC with a funding gap of around £90 million.

Alongside the announcement, the government also launched a review into how the BBC is funded. It is looking at whether to replace the fee with a new funding model after 2027, when the BBC’s current Royal Charter ends.

The number of households choosing to pay the licence fee fell by 500,000 to 24.3 million in the past year, with an increase in competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime being blamed.

In 2022, the government froze the licence fee for two years to protect families from the sharp rise in the cost of living.

What is a TV licence?

You pay a fee for a TV licence to allow you to legally watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device as they’re broadcast, and to watch on-demand BBC programmes on iPlayer.

Who needs a TV licence?

Anyone who watches the BBC live, or streams it via BBC iPlayer, must pay the fee. In addition, if you watch live TV from any broadcaster (even an international one) – you also need to pay the fee.

You don’t need to pay for a licence if you stream/watch any of the following:

  • Streaming services like Netflix or Disney Plus  
  • On-demand TV through services like All 4 and Amazon Prime Video
  • Videos on websites like YouTube
  • Videos or DVDs

How much does the TV licence cost?

The TV licence costs £159 for both homes and businesses, and £53.50 for black and white television sets.

If you live in a shared household, you need your own TV licence if you have separate tenancy agreements and you watch TV in your own room.

You can have one TV licence for the whole household if you either:

  • Watch TV in a single shared area
  • Have a joint tenancy agreement

What happens if you don’t pay for a TV licence?

It is illegal to watch TV if you do not pay for a TV licence. The fine for watching or recording live TV without a licence is £1,000. If you do not pay this fine, then you can go to prison.


Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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