The government sets the licence fee, not the BBC

6 February 2020
What was claimed

The BBC is increasing the licence fee by £3.

Our verdict

The licence fee is increasing by £3 a year but it is the government and not the BBC which sets the fee.

“The BBC is increasing the licence fee by £3 from April 1.”

The Sun (print edition), 4 February 2020

On Monday the BBC announced that the licence fee would increase by £3 to £157.50 a year. But it’s not accurate to suggest that this was a decision the BBC made itself.

The level of increase is as a result of a decision by the government in 2016 which announced that from 2017/18 the licence fee would rise in line with inflation. 

At the time, the government said “this will provide the BBC with the funding it needs to thrive and deliver against its updated mission and purposes.”

Inflation in the year to September 2019 was measured at 2%, and so the licence fee is increasing from £154.50 to £157.50 (1.9%).

The Sun did clarify this but its headline and first paragraph, which suggest the BBC and not the government sets the licence fee, are misleading.

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