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If you watch TV live or you catch up on BBC programmes with the BBC iPlayer, you’re probably aware that you need a TV Licence for this. And if you don’t have one, you could end up with a fine of £1,000.

From this April, the fee for your TV Licence is going up – from £145.50 a year to £147 a year. This is the first time there’s been a change to the licence fee since 2010.

Let’s take a look at why this is happening and if there’s anything you can do to save money on your TV bill.

Why the licence fee is going up

Back in 2010, the Government agreed to freeze the cost of a TV Licence for seven years. But last year, they decided that the TV Licence fee would go up from 1 April this year so that they could keep offering free TV Licences to over-75s. And as those who watch BBC iPlayer also need a TV Licence now, the Government has also had to pay out to start enforcing this.

The TV Licence fee is only going up by £1.50 a year so it’s not likely it will push your finances over the edge. But if you already resent having to pay the TV Licence when you don’t really watch BBC programmes, you might not be too pleased about having to pay more for it.

Can you save money?

Not everyone has to pay for a TV Licence. If you or anyone in your house is 75 or over, you can get a TV Licence for free. Even with the price increase for the rest of the UK, the Government has pledged to keep free TV Licences for those aged over 75 – so that’s some good news.

If you or someone you live with is blind or has severe sight impairment, you can get the TV Licence for half price – that works out as £73.50 a year. And if you’re a care home resident, you can get a TV Licence for £7.50 for your room, flat or bungalow.

There is another way of getting a cheaper TV Licence – by only getting a black and white TV. The cost of a black and white TV Licence is also going up – from £49 to £49.50 – but it still works out substantially cheaper than a colour licence.

If you only watch TV programmes on catch up, you might not need to buy a TV Licence – excluding BBC iPlayer, of course. So that means you can watch ITV Player, All4 and My5 all without a TV licence, just as long as you don’t watch the channels live. Find out when you don’t need a TV Licence to see if you really need to shell out for one.

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