TV Licence fee set to rise as number of viewers cancelling increases to over 860,000

Published by Stephen Little on 04 February 2019.
Last updated on 05 February 2019

TV set and remote control

The annual TV licence fee is set to rise by £4 to £154.50, the third price hike in four years

Meanwhile more than 860,000 TV licences were cancelled in 2017/18 compared to 798,000 in 2016/17, according to figures obtained by The Times.

The BBC says that the cost of the annual television licence fee will increase from £150.50 to £154.50 from 1 April.

The government, which sets the level of the licence fee, announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.

Those renewing in March will pay the current rate of £150.50. Those buying a new licence before 1 April 2019 will also pay the current rate.

Campaigners say the increase will put even further pressure on pensioners who are already struggling financially.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says: “This £4 a year increase to the TV licence fee adds insult to injury for the over-75s who face losing their free TV licence next year. 

“For the three in 10 living in poverty or just above the poverty line, struggling to afford the basics such as heating and eating, further increasing a bill they already cannot afford will cause great anxiety and concern.”

The BBC says: "The new licence fee amount equates to just £2.97 a week or £12.87 a month, for which the BBC provides nine national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations plus dedicated nations radio services, one of the UK's most popular websites, the radio app BBC Sounds, and BBC iPlayer."

More people ditching the TV licence

More than 860,000 TV licences were cancelled in 2017/18 compared to 798,000 in 2016/17, according to figures obtained by The Times.

This amounts to 2,300 cancellations a day and marks the first rise in cancellations in five years.

Online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime video, do not require a TV licence to watch them and have seen a rise in popularity in recent years.

A basic Netflix subscription costs £5.99 a month or around £72 a year, less than half the price of the £150.50 annual cost of the licence fee. Analysts estimate that Netflix has 9.78 million subscribers in the UK.

A BBC spokesperson says: “There are more licences in force than ever before – 25.8 million – while the number of cancellations has fallen by 15% since 2012/13. 

“The number of cancellations includes all licences cancelled by TV Licensing due to payment failure, as well as cancellations from customers who no longer need a licence - for example, if they have moved into an address which already has one.”

A TV licence is compulsory to watch live television or use the BBC’s iPlayer streaming service.

The BBC is currently in talks with ITV and Channel 4 about setting up a British rival to Netflix that would have access to archive programmes.

Over-75 free licence review

The announcement comes as free TV licences for the over-75s are being reviewed.

The BBC has launched a consultation to decide how the TV licence for the over-75s should be paid for.

The corporation says that it may have to cut services unless over-75s start paying the licence fee.

Age UK has warned that scrapping the licence fee could plunge as many as 50,000 pensioners into poverty.

Ms Abrahams says: "At the moment TV licences are free for over-75s who apply for one.  They are only at risk because the government passed responsibility for funding and administering free TV licences to the BBC from 2020 in a private deal, without giving them any money to fund it.

“We believe over-75s should keep their free TV licences and we urge the government to take back responsibility for the funding them.”

A BBC spokesperson says: “Free TV licences for people over 75 are expected to cost £745 million a year by 2021/22, and government funding for the scheme ends in June 2020.

“We're conscious that pensioner poverty is still an issue for some older people.  We have set out a range of options in our consultation - each has merits and consequences, with implications for the future of the BBC and for everyone, including older people.

“We need to hear everyone’s views to help the BBC make the best and fairest decision."

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Why is the TV licence any

Why is the TV licence any longer in existence? The BBC is one of many channels available and can no longer claim to be doing the job it was set up to do. It is time the advertising it uses to promote its own shows was paid for and thus covering the cost of this increasingly poor service.

I think the TV licence should

I think the TV licence should be scrapped, or a least put at a nominal value for the like of news. They have huge costs to produce largely poor TV.

Just like any service you should be free to cancel and move on, there should be a box that blocks bbc channels for a one off purchase, and if you have it installed at your property, you don't pay the TV licence, or as mentioned a nominal fee. Some people do like the BBC, but most prefer other channels, so why force those who don't want to stream (not including myself) to pay for it?

What first turned me off the BBC was a news story about a car crash stunt that cost £1m in eastenders, but when it ewd aired, it crashed an old car into a scrap yard, where did the money go? £1000 on the stunt and £999,000 on bonuses or a back pocket of an exec??

Great idea !!!

Great idea !!!

If the BBC had to operate on

If the BBC had to operate on the same level playing field as all other broadcasters, they would reduce the top heavy management, cut their outrageously high salaries and live in the real world like everyone else has to. Wake up BBC before the public have had enough and you either advertise or disappear completely ... but don't worry, you've got your huge pensions to fall back on , all paid for by us!!!

Why don't they scrap the

Why don't they scrap the license and put on adverts to fund it and also if over 75 year olds have to pay will this put the cost down for everyone. Bet it doesn't. Another government run money making scam. I also believe if you pay for your tv services via Virgin or other the license should be greatly reduced as I feel I am paying twice.

So the BBC is putting the tv

So the BBC is putting the tv licence up yet again giving me 9 tv channels +1 regional channel a few radio stations 1 local radio and a couple of hundred hours of repeats every week,What a bargain at the same time as giving out £Millions to radio presenters left and right and dont forget the big fat pay rises for the people at the top,Well Bullsh**T Broadcasting Company you know what you can do with your rise shove it.

It was the devious Osbourn,

It was the devious Osbourn, the worst Chancellor since WW2, who contrived to pass on the burdon of the free licence fees to the BBC. They knew precisely that the snouts at the BBC would unilaterally remove the senior citizens’ concession with no negative consequencesby virtue of the captive market of viewers. Meanwhile the current DG continues brazenly giving obscene fees/wages/salaries to their top-management and useless and talentless so-called celebrities and autocue readers. The Tory government’s protestations about the self-serving largess within the BBC was no more than cosmetic wall papering and going through the motions of holding that pathetic and weak DG at the BBC to account. The politicians achieved their real purpose and that was not to antagonise the sizeable number of pensioners beyond 75 by off-loading responsibility for the free licence to the snouts at the BBC and shifting blame for the pre-ordained removal of the free licence. It’s up to the silver-haired and bald pensioners to return the compliment by voting for any party but the devious Tories come next election time. Some of us saw this coming the moment that the Government did a Pontius Pilate act on shifting accountability for the BBC licence fee.

its not about policy its

its not about policy its about democracy, bbc should be a suscritption service, they dont want that cause theyd get alot less customers and make alot less productions, they might even risk dieing, for me its a terrible service in 21st centry that i dont use so give me that choice.

Why does the outdated TV

Why does the outdated TV licence still exist ?
It's time the BBC had more adverts and more product placements (oh yes, there are many already!) and SCRAPPED the TV LICENCE !

Unlikely to cancel my TV

Unlikely to cancel my TV licence although it regularly crosses my mind not to watch the BBC as their media continues to become more anti-British and extremely politically correct year on year. Their political correspondents are more like social media trolls than factual reporters. Woe to anyone who is interested in Donald Trump, Jeremy Clarkson or Piers Morgan for reasons other than their demise.

I think the license fee

I think the license fee should be scrapped for everyone as it is only BBC that we pay for and they have lots of repeats and rubbish. I do not listen to the radio. Why do they not fund themselves the same as ITV etc.

Apart from The Antiques

Apart from The Antiques Roadshow, Mastermind, Only Connect and Eggheads, I wouldn't miss BBC television. And I've found, since all the Brexit rubbish that has taken over the airways this past year or so, I can happily live without radio in a silent house. In the old days, before Brexit, I'd have Radio 4 playing from dawn till dusk, and now I've learnt how pleasant it is to listen to birds tweeting outside my windows. So either the Beeb becomes a commercial TV broadcaster and becomes self-funding, or it can go broke and shut down. I don't want to listen to radio news broadcasts, or even weather forecasts any more. The news is always mangled and biased, and the weather is hardly ever accurate. As for the Archers during the past two years - don't get me started on how awful that programme has become! Rubbishy story lines acted by actors with silly-sounding voices (men and women alike) that you don't meet in everyday life. Listening to that was the habit of a life-time, but not any more. I just wish we could separate the BBC from the other broadcasting companies (you know, the ones who are self-supporting from advertising, who operate without licence-fees but who provide us with the most interesting programmes). Then we could still get the programmes on our free tellies from broadcasters who know how to run a company without bleeding dry the listening/viewing public.

why is the money going to the

why is the money going to the bbc when crap is on bbcone and good stuff is on netflix and amazon so how the hell is the old people going to pay for there tv licence when it is free for them

Dont just moan, cancel your

Dont just moan, cancel your direct debit now ! I can guarantee that the fee will be added to utility bills like some European countries. The British Brainwashing Corporation is there for a reason, to keep you docile and to keep the status Quo. You are not supposed to question or think for yourself.

Tv licence fees for over 75"s

Tv licence fees for over 75"s should not be re-introduced. The government funding ought to be brought back to fund this much needed and used service for a section of people who rely on the tv for entertainment and social contact.

Cut the BBC annual budget

Cut the BBC annual budget from £6 Billion (£6,000,000,000) down to 6Million, by cutting eight national TV channels, cut regional programming entirely, remove 9 national radio stations, remove all 40 local radio stations plus dedicated nations radio services and the radio app BBC Sounds.
Sell all these resources and hand the cash back to the Treasury to try make amends for the damage the BBC has done to Britain with all the AGW, Pro-EU, Pro-Socialism propaganda over the last 50 years.

Will you stop blaming the

Will you stop blaming the government for making the BBC pay for over 75s free licence.
The solution is absolutely clear and has been demonstrated by over 800,000 licence fee cancellations , the BBC is an
greedy outdated and corrupt organisation no longer wanted in the 21st century and the only solution is

from 2018 should be tv

from 2018 should be tv company make tv with card reader like sky box or other device which is working by card anyone like bbc program buy card anyone not like bbc just leaved i think will sort it out all problems .

“The corporation says that it

“The corporation says that it may have to cut services unless over-75s start paying the licence fee.”

It’s a No-Brainer: cut back on those services that the vast majority of the public have absolutely no interest in. And remove those stations that provide cr*p and are put out without any market research to justify their existence. And, in any case, get ride of those self-serving snouts, including and especially the current, useless DG who does as he’s told by his subordinate management.

Was anything ever done about the salaries of over-rated and over-paid newsreaders, sports commentators (yes, you Garry!)? No, of course not! The DG would rather screw pensioners on the poverty line than cut back on obscene salaries for his boys and girls.

On a related matter, the BBC generates considerable revenue from overseas access to their programmes. What do they do with this source of revenue? Clue: it’s not used to subsidise the UK operation!

The solution for over-75s is

The solution for over-75s is to cancel their TV licence.


Sadly, the BBC terrorise any property that does not have a licence, sending out their henchmen to harass and bully innocent people. Pensioners would be terrified of having these horrid people showing up on their doorstep and demanding access into their home.

Truth is, the BBC is the defacto state television and this is why everyone is expected to pay for it. The whole population is being made to pay for the distribution and consumption of mind-altering 'medication' against its own free will. The exponential increase of political messages/lecturing in every section of BBC broadcasting is astonishing.

I'm soon moving in to my new first home and will not be buying a TV licence. I can very happily live without live television or ANY BBC 'service'.