Calls for BBC to scrap extra charge on licence fee instalment plan

AN extra charge slapped on people who pay their TV licence in instalments must be axed, ministers have been warned.

People who split the £157.50 fee into quarterly payments have to pay an extra £5 over the year.

Demands for the direct debit cost to be axed comes ahead of the licence going up by £1.50 to £159 a year from April.

One government source said yesterday that the issue is likely to be looked at from 2022, for the following five years.

But Shadow Media Minister Chris Matheson said: “People should never be penalised for paying their licence in instalments.”

The Labour MP added: “We know what a vital role TV is playing during the pandemic keeping people informed and entertained during such a difficult time.”

The £5 fee is used by the BBC to offset the collection and financial risk associated with splitting up payments.

BBC chiefs last year pushed ahead with the end of free TV licences for most over-75s except those on pension credit.

BBC director of policy Clare Sumner said this month that the licence fee is “widely backed by the public”.

Ofcom has launched a consultation on the future of public service broadcasting.

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