TV licence fee shake-up plans could see property-rich pensioners ‘pay more for licence’

Gregory Campbell questions Nadine Dorries on TV licence fee

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The TV Licence may be changed in the future, with Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries describing the fee as “discriminatory”. She also appeared recently on LBC, and discussed the potential alternatives to chart a path forward.

Ms Dorries told the radio station the Government would be considering a number of options, and added: “Germany doesn’t have a licence fee anymore.

“I think if I’m not very much mistaken, it’s added onto council tax, so those who are wealthier with higher council tax pay more.”

It has led to discussions about whether tying the TV licence payment to council tax is the best, and the fairest, decision in the future.

Carolyn Matravers, Chartered Financial Planner and Accredited Member of SOLLA at Old Mill, spoke exclusively to about the mooted proposals.

She said: “I think any proposed change must be thought through in detail to clarify exactly who it is targeting.

“Property owners have generally benefitted from the uplift in property values over the past two years, but everyone (some more so than others) have been affected by rises in the cost of living.  

“A high property value does not automatically suggest the homeowner has a high level of income, in fact a great number of cases it is the complete opposite.

“A pensioner living in a property that has experienced an uplift in its value might fall into a category of having to pay more for a TV licence, but in reality be struggling to meet their weekly household and energy bills.”

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The TV Licence fee is currently £159 per year, and has been frozen at this sum until 2024.

It is then set to rise in line with inflation for the following four years. 

However, swathes of readers were keen to make their opinions known about the future of the licence fee.

Many were totally averse to the idea of any link between council tax and the TV licence.

Wortho wrote: “Council tax charges are already abhorrent without adding TV licence charges to it. In the words of past Tory leader Margaret Thatcher ‘what a good idea’ NOT!

“Other channels use adverts so the TV licence should be abolished. Again, just another con to tax the hard working.”(sic)

OneTimeTory stated: “What a super Tory con trick, bung it on the council tax and people won’t notice. Stops anyone opting out, sneak it up every year, you can still take them to court.

“In the end, they’ll forget it’s on their bill and you can lie through your teeth and say you kept your election promise.”

While Pppp12 wrote: “Not having it. This tax must go. It is a disgrace and they know it. 

“When an organisation is not profit, it wastes money. My money.”

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The user Lincs0499 looked towards a previous system for a potential solution to division, writing: “The system was fairer when everyone paid the same for consuming the same facilities and resources – i.e. the poll tax.”

However, one user, WGC, critiqued Germany’s system which Ms Dorries appeared to reference, penning: “The German system is a mess. In the UK, you can have a TV and as long as you do not watch broadcast TV or use iPlayer then you are exempt.

“We have friends in Germany that do the same as us but they still have to pay the TV licence simply because they have a TV that has the capability of viewing live TV, even if it is not used for that.”

Not everyone was totally against the idea of changes to the TV licence system, however.

One Reddit user argued the case for small tweaks, but keeping the licence fee in place.

DividedContinuity wrote: “The Government is already in budget deficit, we don’t want to just increase the deficit. I think a tapered system on council tax makes a lot of sense to be honest.”

A DCMS spokesperson told “The way people consume media has changed radically since the licence fee was introduced and we will soon launch an independent review to explore the potential for alternative ways to fund the BBC.”

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