Licences facts and figures

Licences in Force

How many TV Licences are in force in the UK? How many of the licences in force are for premises that are households, and how many are for businesses?

The number of licences in force in the UK for the last ten financial years is shown below.

UK total number of licences in force*

Financial year No. of licences
2016/17 25,826,118
2015/16 25,558,189
2014/15 25,507,726
2013/14 25,419,296
2012/13 25,338,330
2011/12 25,226,072
2010/11 25,103,079
2009/10 24,963,799
2008/09 24,871,994
2007/08 24,740,047

*As at the end of each financial year i.e. 31 March. These figures are approximations of the number of licences in force. They do not include concessionary licences held by Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) premises.

An address may require more than one licence (e.g. student accommodation). Therefore, it is the number of licences is shown here, rather than the number of addresses with a licence. The number of households and business premises with TV Licences cannot be readily extracted from the total number of licences in force, because such information is not specifically recorded for each licence.

How many households in the UK have a TV?

As at March 2017, statistics from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) show that around 95% of UK are licensable.

How many premises hold more than one Licence?

As at 31 March 2017, 294,126 addresses were recorded on the TV Licensing database as being issued with more than one TV Licence. There are instances where it is legitimate to have more than one licence at an address, e.g. for student accommodation. In other cases, an address may temporarily be recorded as having more than one licence due to licence payers moving premises.

How many black and white (mono), TV Licences were issued in 2016/17?

As at 31 March 2017, 8,242 black and white (mono) TV Licences were in force.

How many licences were issued this year to a new licence holder at a new address?

We don’t hold the information requested in a form that is readily accessible. TV Licensing (and the BBC) has no reason to collate data to generate the statistical information requested here, so our database is not configured to enable this type of information to be readily retrievable. While it might be possible to manually extract the information requested from the TV Licensing database, we estimate that it would not be possible to do this within the appropriate limit set by Regulations made pursuant to section 12 of the FOI Act. The BBC is not obliged to comply with a request if the cost of doing so would exceed this limit, which is £450 (the equivalent to two and a half days work at an hourly rate of £25).

Can I have a list of the addresses at [X] locality without a TV Licence?

The BBC is not able to release personal information about other people (including names or addresses) as to do so would breach the Data Protection Act 1998. Information is collected and held for the purpose of administering the TV licensing system, not for other unrelated purposes.

How many TV Licences have been issued to the BBC?

The majority of BBC locations are covered by what is known as a ‘multi-licence’ which is a licence designed for large organisations with multiple sites. In the financial year 2016/17, 139 licences were purchased under the BBC multi-licence.

Information for licences held by the BBC’s commercial subsidiaries (BBC Resources Ltd, UKTV, BBC World News Ltd and BBC Worldwide Ltd) is not included in these figures because it is not subject to the FOI Act.


Who decides which groups get a concession on the licence fee?

The TV Licence fee – including concessions and payment amounts – is prescribed by Parliament under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 (opens in a new window) (as amended). The BBC is not responsible for these matters. You may wish to contact the government agency responsible for broadcasting in the UK – the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (opens in a new window) – to raise any issues you may have about the legal framework for the licence fee. The Department’s address is 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ.

We recognise that some people may have difficulty paying for their TV Licence in one lump sum. A cash payment plan is available to allow for paying the licence fee in manageable instalments. Payments (by cash, debit or credit card) may be for as little as £6 a week.

People can also save towards the payment of their next licence by using a TV Licensing savings card.

TV Licensing works closely with money advice groups and other stakeholders to ensure that information about flexible payment methods reaches those who might benefit from it.

Information on the types of concessions and how you can apply for them can be found below:

Are BBC staff eligible for a reduced licence fee or free TV Licences?

BBC staff are not eligible for a reduced licence fee or a free TV Licence by virtue of the fact they work for the BBC.

BBC staff are eligible for concessions just like anyone else. Blind (severely sight-impaired) persons are eligible for a 50% concession on the licence fee, and persons aged 75 years or older are eligible for a free licence. The BBC doesn’t retain a list of staff members who receive concessions on their licence.

Does the BBC get reimbursed by the government for the cost of issuing free TV Licences to persons aged 75 years and older?

Yes. The BBC is reimbursed the cost of free over 75 TV Licences by the Department for Work and Pensions. The amount paid for each household is the full cost of the relevant licence (colour or black and white).

How many people each year reach 75 years old and become eligible for a free over 75 TV Licence?

The BBC doesn’t hold information on the number of people each year who reach 75 years old and become eligible for a free over 75 TV Licence. These figures may be available from the Department for Work and Pensions (opens in a new window).

How many pensioners haven’t taken up the free licence?

The BBC doesn’t hold information on the number of pensioners who have not ‘taken up’ the free over 75 TV Licence.

How many free, over 75 TV Licences are in force?

At the end of March 2017, there were approximately 4.39 million free over 75 TV Licences in force at a cost of approximately £630.4 million to the Department for Work and Pensions. The number of over 75 TV Licences in force for the last ten financial years is shown below. This information is also available in the BBC Annual Report and Accounts.

Financial year Number of over 75 licences
2016/17 4.39
2015/16 4.36
2014/15 4.36
2013/14 4.33
2012/13 4.25
2011/12 4.21
2010/11 4.16
2009/10 4.09
2008/09 3.97
2007/08 4.00
How do you verify the age of persons applying for over 75 TV Licences?

TV Licensing verifies the ages of persons who apply for free over 75 TV Licences by matching information provided by applicants with information held by the Department for Work and Pensions. The procedure followed by TV Licensing in doing so is as follows:

(i) TV Licensing checks that the title, name, national insurance number and date of birth supplied by the applicant matches information held by the Department for Work and Pensions.

(ii) Where a match is not found or a national insurance number cannot be supplied, TV Licensing will check any of the following documentation for proof of age:

  • Passport
  • UK driver's licence
  • UK birth certificate
  • EU or EEA National Identity Card

If an applicant's name had changed, he or she will need to provide a copy of a marriage certificate or deed poll document.

(iii) If an applicant does not have any of the above documentation they can be advised to send TV Licensing a copy of any official document which contains their date of birth. TV Licensing will review this document for proof of age.

(iv) If all of the above checks fail, or if the applicant is not able to easily provide a document which contains proof of age, the applicant can request a visit from a TV Licensing enquiry officer. The officer will call at the relevant address and make a decision based on the evidence given to them.

What is your procedure for dealing with households where an over 75 licence holder has died?

TV Licensing will attempt to confirm whether the property is still occupied by any member of the deceased person's family unit. If it is not, the TV Licence will be cancelled. If it is, the current year's licence will remain in force. TV Licensing will then attempt to seek additional information about the remaining occupant(s) of the property to assess the future licensing requirements of the property.

If a remaining occupant is over 74 (and does not hold an over 75 TV Licence elsewhere) then TV Licensing will either process an application for a short term TV Licence or a free licence for the occupant, with the licence term to start from the expiry date of the current licence.

If no remaining occupant is over 74 then TV Licensing will send a renewal notice to the address before the expiry of the current licence as a new licence should be purchased once that expires, if one is required.

What are the names and addresses of the companies who may hold information about over 75 TV Licence holders on behalf of the BBC?

The names of these companies are as follows:

The BBC also holds this information, and it may be accessed by staff employed in the BBC's TV Licensing Management Team. The addresses of the BBC and these companies are listed below:

The British Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcasting House

Capita Business Services
India Mill Business Centre
Bolton Road

Proximity London Ltd
Bankside 3
90 Southwark Street

Wakefield Road
West Yorkshire
LS10 1DU

The Data Protection Act 1998 (opens in a new window) governs how the BBC and its TV Licensing agents process personal information. Our Privacy Policy sets out in detail how TV Licensing collects and processes personal information, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, for the purposes of administering and enforcing the television licensing system.

  • Capita Business Services Ltd
  • Proximity London Ltd
  • Communisis
How many pensioners over the age of 75 receive a free TV Licence, by local authority and parliamentary constituency?

The BBC doesn't hold information on the number of over 75 TV Licences issued by local authority or parliamentary constituency.

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Latest press releases

Too busy to watch TV? – TV Licensing asks businesses to get in touch if they don’t need a licence
Mon Feb 12 2018
New research from TV Licensing has revealed some businesses are ‘too busy for TV’ so don’t require a TV licence.
TV Licence evasion much lower than people think
Thu Feb 08 2018
Some TV viewers incorrectly believe the level of TV licence evasion to be over 50 per cent, according to recent research with licence payers.
Winter Olympics TV Licensing reminder for sports fans
Thu Feb 08 2018
Sports fans around the UK are set to enjoy a feast of Winter sport playing out live on their portable devices, as the Winter Olympics kick off next month in South Korea. TV Licensing is asking those viewing the live action to ensure they are correctly licensed ahead of an exciting season of sport on TV.

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