Everyone in the UK who watches or records TV as it is broadcast needs to be covered by a TV licence. This includes TV on computers, mobile phones, DVD/video recorders and other devices. The BBC uses the income from the licence fee to pay for its programmes and services.
The Government sets the level of the licence fee. The Government’s White Paper of May 2016 announced that the licence fee will rise with inflation for the first five years of the Charter period, from 1 April 2017. For up-to-date cost information please visit the TV Licensing website.
The Trust conducts negotiations with the Government over the level of the licence fee and any legal changes that may be required, for example to enable the BBC to use licence fee income for new purposes.
The Trust is also responsible for overseeing the licence fee collection arrangements put in place by BBC management, and ensuring they are "efficient, appropriate and proportionate". This was a new responsibility for the BBC's governing body set out in the 2006 Royal Charter for the first time. The Trust reports on licence fee collection each year in the Annual Report; and in 2008-09 carried out a more in-depth review, which you can read about at the link below.
The Trust is also responsible for hearing appeals about TV licensing matters from people who are unhappy with the way their complaint has been dealt with by BBC management.
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