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Millions of homes set to avoid the TV Licence rise on April 1

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Original article from Kent Live

The annual BBC television licence fee is set to increase tomorrow (April 1), along with a range of new price rises across England.

The yearly increase will involve an increase of £1.50- from £157.50 to £159 a year – with customers now paying about 43p a day, the broadcaster confirmed.

This price hike comes eight months after three million over-75s lost their entitlement to free TV licences following a funding row between the BBC and the government.

The new fee works out at £3.06 per week or £13.25 per month, the Mirror reports.

A string of other price rises will also come into force tomorrow (April 1) – with Sky customers amongst those that will be hit by a double whammy of rises on access to television entertainment.

The TV licence is set by the government, which announced in 2016 that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 2017.

However, this year marks the final time the broadcaster will be allowed to set the rate as from next spring, it will be in the hands of the Treasury.

Those buying or renewing a licence after April 1, 2021, will have to pay the new fee.

Those already paying in instalments will continue to pay £157.50 until their licence is up for renewal.

The cost of an annual black and white licence will also rise from £53.00 to £53.50.

However, millions of households may not have to pay the charge.

Who can escape the TV licence?

Households only legally have to pay for a licence to watch live TV or BBC iPlayer.

That means if you're only watching pre-recorded shows via on-demand services such as ITV Hub or Netflix, you do not need to purchase a licence.

According to latest government figures, 900,000 pensioners are also missing out on free television – despite the BBC axing free access for pensioners last year.

That's through pension credits which gives you access to a free TV licence.

Protests occurred in 2019 over the faillure to provide funding for over-75s TV licences

Sarah Coles, consumer analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown explains: "Getting older is no longer enough to earn you a free TV licence. In July, the rules changed so that over 75s don’t get a free TV licence unless they receive pension credit.

"If you're 75 or over and single, you could qualify if your income is below £173.75 a week (£177.10 in the new tax year). If you’re in a couple you might qualify if your income is less than £265.20 a week (£270.30 in the new tax year). Any savings will be taken into account, and if you're in a couple, you must both have reached state pension age."

Minister for Pensions Guy Opperman added: "It's important that no one misses out on the support they are entitled to.

"That’s why I'm urging people of pension age – or their family and friends – to check if they are missing out on hundreds of pounds of financial support. They can contact DWP online or by freephone, speak to local charitable organisations like Age UK or get help from local representatives.

"Having savings, a pension or owning a home doesn't rule you out. Already 1.5 million people receive Pension Credit, leading to a free TV licence for those aged over 75 and many more financial benefits, such as help with things like council tax and NHS dental treatment."

Anyone can use the free online Pension Credit calculator to check eligibility eligible and get an estimate of what they might receive.

The free TV licence will cover you and anyone else you live with, no matter what age they are. If you're blind or have a severe sight-impairment you can also claim a 50% discount on your licence.

Those with empty properties may also be able to avoid the fee. Owning a television doesn’t automatically make you liable for a charge. If you’re not using your television, you don’t need to pay for access to live television.

However, you will need a licence if you’re watching TV though an aerial such as Sky, Virgin TV or Freeview – as these all constitute as live TV.

In some circumstances, students won’t have to pay the fee, either.

TV Licencing says you may be covered by your parents' licence if your 'out-of-term address' (your parents’ address) is covered by a TV licence and you only use TV-receiving equipment that is powered by its own internal batteries – meaning it’s not connected to a mains supply.

The rule means if your parents have a TV licence, you're fully covered to watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer from a tablet, smartphone or laptop from university.

If you live in a residential care home or sheltered accommodation and watch TV in your own room or flat, then you may qualify for an Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) Concessionary TV Licence instead.

This costs £7.50 per room, flat or bungalow. Both you and your accommodation must qualify.

Original Article