Problems paying your TV Licence? There's help at hand

TV Licensing is encouraging people in financial difficulties to ask for help if they are struggling to pay for a TV Licence. According to a new report from Christians Against Poverty (CAP), 8.3 million people in the UK live with problem debt1, with an inability to afford household bills, keep up with repayments and meet the cost of servicing credit.

TV Licensing is therefore encouraging those who are struggling financially to seek help if they need a TV Licence but are worried about whether they can afford to pay for one. A licence costs £150.50 for the year, but there are payment plans which make it possible to pay in smaller, more manageable chunks, including:

  • Weekly cash payments, from as little as £6 a week. Licence fee payers can pay at PayPoint outlets, online, by phone or text message.
  • Monthly or Quarterly direct debit.

TV Licensing is also trialling a new simpler payment plan which will be offered to customers most at risk of prosecution. The cost of the licence fee will be evenly spread over the course of the year, in contrast to the first licence being bought in six months, as legislation requires for current instalment schemes. The six month sign up period runs from 1 April to the end of September 2018. The trial plan will only be available to:-

  • people who have sought debt advice from certain charities, including CAP.
  • those who have previously held a licence which was cancelled in the last six months because of missed payments.
  • people who have been questioned under caution for TV licence fee evasion when visited by a TV Licensing enquiry officer.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

If you’re faced with unexpected financial difficulties and sorting your TV Licence is still on the to-do list, organise it sooner rather than later. You can call 0300 790 6113 to talk it through with an advisor, or speak to a debt management organisation, such as Christians Against Poverty, for advice. We’re all here to help.

Dawn Stobart, Director of External Affairs for Christians Against Poverty said:

We are delighted to be partnering with TVL on this project. Our hope is that it will be another weight lifted off the shoulders of our clients and allow them to face up to their wider debts and responsibilities.

Financial insecurity is being fuelled by unpredictable finances. More than 1 in 10 (13%) UK adults say their income changes significantly from month to month and almost half (48%) have experienced at least one monthly drop in income over the last year, with an average largest fall of £385, according to Citizen’s Advice2.

Many people are also poorly placed to manage that unpredictability as they’re not financially resilient. Household saving is recovering from a near-record low3, resulting in little or no financial buffer when things go wrong.

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

References

1 CAP: Client Report: Bringing restoration to desolate homes, March 2018

2 Citizens Advice report: Walking on Thin Ice

3 ONS report here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/articles/monthlyeconomiccommentary/december2017#households-saving-ratio-falls-to-52-in-quarter-3-july-to-sept-2017

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