Two per cent rise for UK TV licence fee

Expected £3 increase for colour TVs goes ahead

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The television licence fee will go up by three pounds, with Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw laying a Parliamentary order to approve the increase from next month.

The rise in the licence fee, is just the latest in a six-year plan approved back in January 2007, but arrives in an inevitable storm of criticism and brings the cost of a colour television licence to £145.50.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport argue that the January inflation figure stood at 3.5 per cent, which means that the £3, or two per cent, rise is actually below the increase to cost of living.

Hard times

But with the country still reeling from the economic crash, and government departmental cuts, the increase has drawn disapproval.

The whole idea of a licence fee remains controversial, with advocates pointing to a uniquely funded public service broadcaster like the BBC that is the envy of the world, and critics pointing to a 500 pound gorilla that holds too much power and is funded by what, in essence, is another tax.

The debate has raged for years, and with a general election looming it seems likely that the debate over the fee will soon become a political hot potato once again.

For now, however, the opposition party - the Conservatives - decided not to contest the increase, although they have not ruled out a cut to the fee should they win the election.