Why do I need to pay for a TV licence?

By law, you need to have a TV licence to watch or record live programmes on any device or if you watch or stream programmes live on an online service like ITV X or Sky Go.

You also need a TV licence if you download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer.

Who decides how much I pay?

The fee is decided on by the government, with the current level remaining fixed until April 2024 when it will rise in line with inflation.

TV licence costs:

  • Colour TV licence – £159 per year
  • Black and White TV licence – £53.50 per year

What if I’m struggling to pay my TV licence?

If you’re struggling to pay, contact the TV Licensing department to see how they can help. The main scheme they have available is the Simple Payment Plan.

This is aimed at people who find it difficult to pay and it can work out at around £3 a week if you stay on the plan.

The plan will allow you to spread the cost of the licence over 12 months and you won’t need to pay for the licence in the first six months.

You’ll also be able to spread arrears over monthly payments and carry a limited amount of arrears over to the next licence.

If you miss a payment, it can be spread across the remainder of the plan, instead of having to pay double next time, but the full amount agreed must be paid for payment to count.

If you miss three months or six fortnightly consecutive payments, you’ll be terminated from the scheme. And while you may be invited to re-join at a later date, your licence could be short-dated, meaning your new licence will expire 12 months from the expiry date of the previous licence, not from the sign-up date.

How can I pay?

There are a number of ways to pay, depending on what works best for your circumstances.

  1. Direct Debit is the most popular way and can be done annually, quarterly or monthly
  2. PayPoint is where you can use cash or card at PayPoint stores and you can pay in monthly, fortnightly and weekly instalments
  3. The TVL Pay App is available for free
  4. You can also pay online, over the phone on 0300 555 0286 or by cheque.

How do I sign up to the scheme?

To be put onto the scheme, you need to be referred by PayPlan or through a not-for-profit organisation like a charity or local authority.

Can I cancel my TV licence and get my money back?

If you’re concerned that you’re going to fall behind with TV licence payments, you can cancel it and potentially get some money back.

However, don’t forget that it’s illegal to watch live television without a TV licence, so it’s best to get in touch with the TV licensing department first.