TV Licence fee used to be just £10 50 years ago

BBC: Public share their views on TV licence fee

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The licence fee has become a widely accepted necessity for those who want to watch TV on a day-to-day basis. The law states individuals need to be covered to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV.

This is regardless of the channel a person is using, although the fee goes towards funding the BBC.

Currently, the TV Licence costs £159 a year – but how much did it cost in the past, and is the current price fair?

Research by Ocean Finance has analysed the changing picture of the TV licence and how much it will set Britons back.

The group stated the cost of a colour TV licence started at £10 per year back in January 1968.

This is a marked change from what the licence fee currently costs today.

When comparing the two figures, it illustrates an increase of some 1,225 percent in the last 50 years.

However, despite what seems like a substantial increase, technically Britons should be paying even more.

The licence fee is actually cheaper than it would have been had it risen solely in line with inflation.

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Over the last 50 years, inflation has averaged at 5.74 percent per year.

If prices had risen at this rate, the TV licence would cost Britons approximately £182.79 for the year.

For those paying for a colour TV licence without any discount or exemption, the difference is £23.79.

However, the Ocean Finance team also highlighted a changing picture when it comes to how Britons use the television.

They said: “It’s worth remembering that the way we watch TV has changed significantly over the last 50 years. 

“Many of us now pay for at least a couple of streaming services as well as – or instead of – a TV licence.

“This makes our TV habits more expensive than they may appear.”

A single TV licence will cover all of the following in a single property:

  • TV sets
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Any other device which can receive a TV signal.

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Individuals can be fined up to £1,000 if they watch or record live television without a TV licence.

Certain Britons will be able to secure concessions for the TV licence which means they will not pay the whole fee.

For example, Pension Credit recipients who are over the age of 75 will be able to secure a free TV licence, viewed as a vital entitlement.

The TV Licensing website states those who are blind – severely sight impaired – are eligible to apply for a 50 percent concession.

Residents in care homes that have ARC schemes will pay a concessionary rate of £7.50. Over-75s in residences with ARC schemes are eligible for a free licence.

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