MSE News

TV licence fee to rise by £1.50/yr to £159 from April

The cost of an annual standard colour TV licence will rise to £159 from 1 April 2021 – an increase of £1.50 on the current price of £157.50 a year.

Those who are blind (severely sight impaired) are entitled to a 50% discount meaning that from 1 April 2021, their licences will cost £79.50, a rise of 75p from £78.75. Meanwhile, the cost of an annual black-and-white TV licence will rise by 50p from £53 to £53.50.

The cost of a TV licence is set by the Government, and in 2016 it announced that the price would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 2017. The rises announced today are calculated using an inflation figure of 1.075%, which was the average Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the year to September 2020. 

How to beat the TV licence price hike

While you can't beat the price rise (at least if you still need a TV licence), some households will be able to defer the increases: 

  • Those paying for an annual licence on an instalment scheme which starts/started before 1 April 2021. If you're buying through an instalment scheme, such as quarterly or monthly direct debits or weekly cash payments, you'll continue to make payments to a total of the current cost of £157.50. Once your licence comes up for renewal, you'll start paying the higher price. So sign up before 1 April and you'll still pay the lower price. 
  • Those whose licence expires before 1 April. If your TV licence expires in February or March, renew it before 1 April so you don't pay the increased cost. 
  • Those who are buying a new licence. You should buy it before 1 April, if you can, to ensure you pay the lower amount.

Not sure if you need a TV licence? See our 20+ TV licence tips.

Over 75s need to pay for a TV licence - unless they're on pension credit

Since August 2020, everyone aged 75 or over now needs to pay for their TV licence – the only exception to this is if you claim pension credit, in which case you can get your licence for free. See our Pension Credit guide to read more about what this benefit is, and if you're entitled to claim it.

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