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News Every Day |

‘Scrap it now,’ cry furious Brits as TV licence fee goes up today – and even ex-BBC boss says it needs to change

FURIOUS Brits are calling for TV licence fees to be scrapped after the price went up today.

The cost of an annual TV licence has shot up from £159 to £169.50 – after a two-year freeze ended.

Getty
Brits will pay more for a TV licence from today[/caption]
PA
Former BBC chairman Richard Sharp says it should be means tested[/caption]

Everyone who watches TV in the UK needs to pay their annual licence fee, which counts for any live TV or anything on BBC iPlayer on any device.

If you don’t have one it’s a criminal offence and you could be landed with a fine of £1,000.

But Brits are less than happy about paying more for the fee. 

Taking to X, one person wrote: “If ever there was a time to cancel your TV licence it’s now! Gone up again!

“You do not need a licence as long as you don’t watch a live broadcast. Scrap the TV licence now!”

Another fumed: “3rd highest electricity prices in the world and a first-class stamp going up to £1.35.

“Council tax bills rising 5-11 per cent, TV licence up £10 a year, and many TV & broadband deals up 5-10per cent.”

It comes as wealthier TV viewers could face paying more to watch the BBC under a licence fee shake-up.

Beeb chiefs are considering replacing the flat-rate levy under a “progressive” system people could pay different amounts depending on income.

Former chairman Richard Sharp believes the move could may the fee fairer for Brits.

In his first interview with the BBC since leaving the corporation, he said lower income households could pay ‘less than those people who are well off’.

Sharp, 68, claimed everybody should ‘have the opportunity to consume BBC content’ and should be subsidised accordingly for the ‘very good value’ service.

He said it offered far more – with the World Service, news, sport and radio – than rival platforms such as Netflix.

The former chairman suggested there were ‘opportunities for creativity’ to ensure people don’t get ‘left behind in their opportunities for free media consumption’.

Sharp resigned as chairman of the BBC in April last year after a report into his appointment found he had ‘failed to disclose potential perceived conflicts of interest’, including his involvement in the facilitation of an £800,000 loan for then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

His comments come after its director general Tim Davie this week announced the corporation’s plans to explore how to reform the licence fee.

Speaking on The Today podcast, Sharp said: “I’m old enough to remember The Life of Brian and that scene of ‘what have the Romans ever done for you?’

“You know, Netflix doesn’t provide sport, Netflix doesn’t provide radio, Netflix doesn’t provide local radio, Netflix doesn’t provide a news website – doesn’t provide world service or news at all.

“If you look at what the consumer gets, for the subscription on a monthly basis, it is very good value for money.”

Who is exempt from paying?

There are some scenarios where you can get a free licence, including if you’re on certain benefits.

If you’re on Pension Credit and over the age of 75, you might be exempt, meaning you could save some serious cash.

You can apply for the discount on the TV licensing website or by calling 0300 790 6117.

But 850,000 eligible households aren’t claiming the benefit, which can make you eligible for a free TV licence.

Similarly, if you or someone you live with is in any way visually impaired, they may be entitled to a 50% discount.

If you live in a residential care home or sheltered accommodation, you may be able to apply for a reduced licence which will normally cost you £7.50 instead.

Plus if you’re a student you could be covered by your parents’ licence even if you live away from home – but you shouldn’t watch on a device plugged into the mains in this case.

Asked if it should be means tested, he said: “I personally am of the view that one of the great things we need to be concerned about is the future changing nature of the media industry.

“What you’re increasingly going to have is consolidation – we saw that with Warner Brother, Paramount, failing to get together – and then you’re going to have a very strong price control from the oligopolistic players.

“In which case, there is an element where people will be left behind in their opportunities for free media consumption.

“So, I do think the BBC has to be well-enough funded but in a way that also provides the opportunity for people to get a rich media consumption, who are on lower incomes.

“Naturally, that leads you to a view – it’s a personal view, it’s up to the politicians and government of the day to decide – I do believe there is an opportunity to have some limited differential in terms of how consumers pay for it.

“Where the lower incomes still have the opportunity to benefit from the BBC at a lower threshold.”

The Sun has contacted the BBC for comment.

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