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TV licence fee changes: Why do you need a TV licence?

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From August 1, 2020, people over the age of 75 will no longer be automatically entitled to a free TV licence. The change will affect millions of people who were previously entitled to free TV licences, although some people may still be able to claim one for free.

Why do you need a TV licence?

Anyone who watches or records shows live on TV requires a TV licence in the UK.

The requirement for a TV licence applies to any live TV programmes you watch, on any channel.

You also need a TV licence if you record programmes as they are being broadcast on TV.

You also need a TV licence to be able to use BBC iPlayer.

As well as watching live on television, you also need a TV licence to watch live TV on computers, tablets, mobile phones, and any other device you watch on.

If you only watch TV programmes after they have been shown on television, you do not need to pay for a TV licence.

However, this does not apply to BBC iPlayer programmes which are not live, as to use BBC iPlayer at all you need a TV licence.

If you are sure you don’t need a TV licence, you should contact TV Licensing to let them know this is the case.

How much is the TV licence?

A TV licence costs £157.50 per year, but is reduced to £53 for anyone who owns a black and white TV set.

The amount can be paid in one lump sum or in instalments.

Previously people over the age of 75 did not have to pay for their TV licences, but this has now changed.

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The changes were initially due to come into place in June, however the date was pushed back by two months due to the pandemic.

Some people over the age of 75 may still be eligible for a free TV licence, however.

If someone receives Pension Credit from the Government, they are entitled to additional help such as a free TV licence, help with housing costs and council tax, as well as cold weather payments.

People who are blind or are severely sight impaired, or people who live with someone with these conditions, may also be eligible for a 50 percent discount on their TV licence.

How do you apply for a TV licence?

You can apply for a TV licence on the TV Licensing website, although it was closed for maintenance on August 1 to update changes to the scheme.

Age UK have issued advice on their website about avoiding TV licence scams in light of the changes this August.

The charity states: “With the BBC announcing they are scrapping free TV licences, there may be an opportunity for scammers.

“But the BBC have said no one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by a letter from TV Licensing and either claimed a free licence or agreed a payment plan.

“We will let you know when the BBC send out their official letters and tell you what they look like.

“For now, if you are over 75 please ignore any emails or letters you receive asking you to pay your TV licence as they may be a scam.”

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