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Television Licences: Fees and Charges

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 151714, tabled on 9 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with the BBC on the reason for the increase in the TV licence fee; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that pensioners are not subject to such increases.

Answered on

15 February 2021

The Government has honoured the commitment made to the BBC during the last licence fee funding settlement negotiations in 2015 to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. The BBC’s Royal Charter (cl 43.1) required the Secretary of State to make a settlement agreement which covered the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2022.

The CPI increase was agreed as part of the wider settlement during which the BBC accepted responsibility for the Over 75s TV Licence Fee concession from June 2020. The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

The Secretary of State will make future decisions about the level of the licence fee following discussions with the BBC on the next settlement, which the Charter states must cover the period from 1st April 2022 for at least the next 5 years.