TV licence fee rises to £139.50

The cost of a television licence is set to rise by £4.

Culture secretary Andy Burnham announced the cost of a colour TV licence will rise from £135.50 to £139.50 and the fee for a black and white set will rise from £45.50 to £47.00.

The price rise will come into effect on April 1st this year after the order was set down in the House of Commons.

It follows a six-year funding settlement for the BBC, decided last April.

The corporation is set to benefit from a three per cent increase over the next two years and two per cent rises in years three, four and five. The increase for year six will be set nearer the time but is expected to be up to two per cent.

Shortly before he was replaced by Mr Burnham, former culture secretary James Purnell said he was willing to consider “top-slicing” the licence fee to fund other broadcasters.

The BBC raises £3.4 billion through the licence fee but rival broadcasters argue they should be given access to this revenue to fund quality programming.

Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the corporation, has resisted the move, claiming the current monopoly ensures accountability, while top-slicing raises the possibility of a further increase to the licence fee.