Viewers will be forced to dig deep as the BBC plans to increase the cost of the TV licence by £3.50 to £150.50 from April 1.
- Annual fee for BBC programming increased for the first time since 2010 in 2017
- Government announced it would rise in line with inflation for a five-year period
- Announcement comes as corporation faces scrutiny over gender pay inequality
The annual fee for BBC programming increased for the first time since 2010 in 2017 after the Government said it would rise in line with inflation for five years.
The announcement comes as the corporation faces scrutiny over gender pay inequality.
Director-general Lord Tony Hall recently faced questions from MPs about pay imbalance following evidence from Carrie Gracie, who resigned as the BBC’s China editor over unequal pay.
Jeremy Vine and John Humphrys are among the top talent who have said they are willing to take a pay cut to contribute to closing the gender pay gap at the corporation.
Anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, or watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer, must have a licence.
The charge applies whether they are using a TV set, computer, or any other equipment.
Licence fee payers will receive a payment plan or a reminder reflecting the new amount when their licence is next due for renewal.
Those buying or renewing a licence after April 1 will pay the new fee while those already buying a licence on an installment scheme which started before April 1 – such as monthly direct debit or weekly cash payments – will continue to make payments totalling £147 until their licence comes up for renewal.
BBC TV Licensing, the body tasked with collecting the fee, will be advising licence fee payers due to renew in March to pay on time so that they will pay the current rate of £147.
Those buying a new licence before April 1 will also pay the current rate.
The BBC has been under-fire of late after women working at the Corporation slammed its report into pay inequality.
BBC Women – set up by a group of 170 female employees – were furious after the probe failed to find any evidence of gender bias.
The results came despite auditors finding a 6.8 per cent difference in salaries between male and female stars.
Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey, a leading figure in the group, said: ‘We reject the findings of the report…we were not consulted on its scope of methodology.’
Accountancy firm PwC, which produced the report, said the broadcaster’s approach to setting pay for on-air staff had been ‘far from perfect’ and there were ‘anomalies’ that needed addressing.
It blamed this on a ‘lack of clarity and openness’ and financial constraints in the company over the last decade, rather than gender bias.
However the ‘fair and transparent’ framework announced by the BBC will benefit a larger number of men than women.
The broadcaster said out of the 188 on-air staff who will receive pay rises, 98 are male and 90 are female.
Women at the BBC said they had faced ‘veiled threats’ while trying to broach the subject of equal pay.
Last month, Garvey told the World At One : ‘Without being overly cynical, I might venture to suggest that PwC has delivered the report that the BBC asked for.’
She added: ‘This is never about cutting men’s pay, cutting men’s pay is not a solution to the issue of equal pay.’
Among the female journalists to take a stand during the gender pay-gap row was China editor Carrie Gracie.
Miss Gracie, 55, who was paid £135,000 a year, resigned from her role with a scathing 1,400-word open letter on her blog declaring ‘enough is enough’ and accusing the corporation of widespread pay discrimination.
She revealed she turned down a £45,000 pay rise from her BBC bosses, insisting ‘its not about more money – it’s about equality’.