BBC licence fee to rise by £1.50 to £159 from April

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Image source, PA Media

The annual TV licence fee is to increase by £1.50, from £157.50 to £159, from 1 April 2021.

It is the final - and lowest - annual increase under a deal between the BBC and the government that has seen the fee rise in line with inflation every year since 2017.

The government must decide how much a TV licence will cost from 2022 onwards.

The increase comes eight months after about three million over-75s lost their entitlement to free TV licences.

The new fee works out at £3.06 per week or £13.25 per month.

In 2019-20, it raised about £3.5bn to pay for BBC services.

Licence-fee evasion rose from 6.57% to 7.25% last year, according to the latest statistics.

'Least worst'

The government had been considering whether non-payment should stop being a criminal offence.

Last month, it decided not to go ahead with decriminalisation - but that it would "remain under active consideration".

Also last month, new BBC chairman Richard Sharp said the licence fee was the "least worst" way of funding the BBC.

But he had an "open mind" about how the corporation should be funded in the future.

And it "may be worth reassessing" the current system.