Culture

BBC licence fee to rise by £3 per year from April

BBC licence fee to rise by £3 per year from April”

This could potentially be the last ever licence fee settlement, with many other European countries already moving away from the licence fee model.

How much is the licence fee and what is it for?

United Kingdom government hinted on Wednesday that the annual BBC licence fee on Britain's television-watching households could be scrapped after the next review of its royal charter, as crunch funding talks with the broadcaster near.

The licence fee's existence is guaranteed until at least 31 December 2027 by the BBC's Royal Charter.

The Baroness urged the BBC to be "open minded" about the future of the corporation's funding beyond 2027.

"The BBC as a public broadcaster is highly valued and something we should fight to protect".

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 and this applies whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.

This resulted in the announcement by the BBC that from June this year, the benefit of a free licence fee will be restricted to over-75s who claim pension credit, with the BBC saying it can not afford to take on the financial burden from the government.

What happens if people don't pay the licence fee?

In 2018, 121,000 people were convicted of television licence evasion and sentenced, with five in England and Wales going to prison. The average fine was £176, but the maximum penalty is £1,000, plus legal costs and/or compensation. The BBC is the most-used media organisation in the UK.

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The government has started a public consultation on whether non-payment should be decriminalised.

And it comes a week after Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, the BBC's highest paid presenter, called for the fee to be made voluntary.

She added the next director-general of the BBC will have some "thorny issues in their intro" after Lord Tony Hall quit. If you notify TV Licencing that you no longer need a licence, the body may send "enforcement officers" to your home to "confirm" whether you still need to pay the tax.

She added one of the toughest challenges will be for the BBC to engage with younger Netflix-obsessed Britons with BBC programmes.

In 1971, radio-only licences were abolished, along with the requirement to have a licence for vehicle radios.

Morgan noted that in 2015, a licence fee was not required to watch BBC content online.

There are different rules for people like students away at university, tenants and lodgers, blind people and businesses. Since then, the BBC has also chose to scrap free licences for people aged over 75.

However, this is changing from the start of June, when the BBC will become responsible for paying for it.

From that date, only over-75s receiving Pension Credit will get a free licence. It reaches the most people.

Plans to decriminalise the licence fee and turn non-payment into a civil offence, a move which the BBC estimates will cost it at least £200m in funding and force it to make even more cuts to its output, are a long-term aim of many on the free-market wing of the Conservative party.



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