‘An expensive waste’ A quarter of a million more Britons cancelled TV licence in 2021

The number of domestic customers declaring that they did not require a licence reached 1.96 million in 2021 to 2022. That works out at 270,000 more people than usual who decided they didn’t need a TV licence last year, saving themselves £159 a year.

Anyone who watches live TV on any channel, not just the BBC, currently has to fork out £159 for a TV licence every year.

However, people’s viewing habits have changed with many Britons now simply choosing to watch Netflix and YouTube, meaning they don’t need to fork out for the fee.

The Television Licence Fee Trust statement released this week said: ‘The number of domestic customers declaring that they did not require a licence reached 1.96 million in 2021 to 22.

“Despite higher sales, the number of domestic customers who declared that they no longer needed a licence increased by the end of 2021-22 by 270,000, from 1.69 million in 2020-21.”

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A BBC spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of households are licensed, sales increased this year and 90 percent of people use the BBC each week.”

The cancellations could be due to heightened awareness of who needs a licence, people moving house and a bigger reliance on streaming services.

However, the figures follow an explosive report by The Lords Communications and Digital Committee suggesting the BBC licence fee should be abolished. 

One Express.co.uk reader @dwwills said: “I don’t pay the TV tax.

“As a result ITV, C4, C5, S4C and many others don’t get my casual viewing, as I only do on demand.

“Sooner it all changes the better.”

Another called @skipper said: “Agree. I never watch it, and rarely watch any TV, for me the licence fee is an expensive waste.”

In total, five groups of people could be entitled to a reduction or refund on their TV licence.

Blind or severely sight impaired people are entitled to a 50 percent reduction on their TV licence.

Residents in care homes that have ARC schemes only have to pay a concessionary rate of £7.50, while those over-75s in residences with ARC schemes are eligible for a free licence.

Over 75s in receipt of Pension Credit are also entitled to a free TV licence and don’t have to pay the £159 annual cost.

In addition, anyone who doesn’t watch live TV or catch up on any channel or service, not just BBC iPlayer, doesn’t have to pay.

On the TV Licensing website it says: “Please check you won’t need your licence again before it expires.

“That means you won’t ever be watching TV live on any channel or service, or using BBC iPlayer.

“If we approve your refund, your licence will be cancelled automatically.”

People can go to tvlicensing.co.uk to find out more about whether they are eligible for a refund or discount.

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