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Government confirms two-year freeze to licence fee

Government confirms two-year freeze to licence fee
© Reuters
The government announces that the TV licence fee will be frozen at £159 for the next two years.

The government has confirmed that the TV licence fee will be frozen at £159 for the next two years.

The fee is a requirement for any household watching live TV in the UK and provides the majority of funding for the BBC, as well as the Welsh language service S4C.

The BBC had sought rises in line with inflation - currently around 5.2% - which would have resulted in a fee of £176 next year, but the government has opted to keep it fixed for 2022 and 2023, with a return to inflation-linked rises thereafter.

"The BBC is a great national institution with a unique place in our cultural heritage," said culture secretary Nadine Dorries. "It broadcasts British values and identities all over the world and reaches hundreds of millions of people every day.

"But at a time when families are facing a sharp increase in their living costs we simply could not justify asking hard-working households to pay even more for their TV licence.

"This is a fair settlement for the BBC and for licence fee payers. The BBC must support people at a time when their finances are strained, make savings and efficiencies, and use the billions in public funding it receives to deliver for viewers, listeners and users."

Announcing her decision in the House of Commons this afternoon, Dorries stopped short of announcing an end to the licence fee beyond 2027 - despite having alluded to the possibility on social media - but did confirm that the government will launch a review of the issue imminently.

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