THE TV licence fee will increase for the first time since 2010, the Government has announced.
The annual fee for BBC programming will increase to £147 from £145.50 on April 1 this year, the Government has said.
The announcement comes as the broadcaster’s director general said TV licence collectors had “fallen short”, following reports they were deliberately targeting vulnerable people who have not paid.
Enforcement officers at Capita are ordered to catch 28 evaders every week and promised incentive bonuses of up to £15,000 a year, according to a Daily Mail investigation.
The company is reportedly paid £58 million a year to collect licence fees for the broadcaster and its staff were said to have targeted vulnerable people, including a war veteran with dementia and a young mother in a women’s refuge.
In a letter to Capita’s chief executive Andy Parker, the BBC’s Tony Hall expressed his “serious concern” about the reports and called for “urgent clarification and reassurance” that vulnerable people were not being “targeted”.
The free concession for those aged over 75 remains while the cost of an annual black and white licence will rise from £49 to £49.50.
The announcement comes amid a period of change for the corporation.
Under the new charter, the corporation’s Trust is being replaced by the BBC Board.
Last year, BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead announced she was stepping aside after two years in the role.
Sir David Clementi cleared the latest hurdle in his appointment as the new BBC chairman after he won the backing of MPs.
Anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, or watching or downloading BBC programmes, must have a licence.
The charge applies whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.
Rules surrounding iPlayer, the BBC’s online catch-up service, changed in September.
It was announced by the Government last year that the licence fee would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 1 this year.
The BBC is due to shoulder the £700 million-a-year cost of handing out free licences to the elderly from 2020 after reaching a funding deal with the Government.
The corporation has also been ordered to disclose pay packets of stars earning more that £150,000 a year, including the likes of chat show host Graham Norton and football presenter Gary Lineker.
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