Martin Lewis reveals exactly who needs a TV licence – should you stop paying yours?

Martin Lewis, 48, has taken to his social media to shed light on the confusing issue of the TV licence for Britons. In a tweet yesterday he cleared up the murky issue.


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The TV licence is required to watch some TV programme and streaming services in the UK. However, not all of them.

This issue causes confusion for Britons, and has done for years.

Martin Lewis aimed to clear this up, once and for all, writing: “TV licence – who needs it?”

He went onto explain the two categories of people who do need to purchase a licence.

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He revealed this is: “Anyone watching or recording live TV, any channel, whether on TV, mobile, desktop etc.”

Or, “Anyone watching BBC iplayer catch-up.”

He went on to explain: “You don’t need one if you ONLY watch non BBC catch-up eg ITV / streaming services like Netflix / Youtube.”

This caused some debate in the replies, as one Twitter user retorted: “Surely the licence is only required for watching BBC channels.”

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However, Martin replied in the contrary, to their shock. They added: “Never knew that. I thought it was to fund the BBC! In essence it’s a tax on watching tv.”

Martin replied: “Indeed thats why it is called the TV licence not the BBC licence.”

What is the TV licence fee?

From April 2019 the annual television licence fee increased from £150.50 to £154.50.

It is possible to pay this in a direct debit each month, which works out as £12.88 a month.

For a black and white TV the licence costs £52 a year.


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Can I cancel my TV licence? states: “You can cancel your licence and may be eligible for a refund if, before your licence expires, you: won’t be watching or recording any programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and.”

What does the licence fee pay for?

The total income from licence fees from 2017 to 2018 was £3.83 billion.

It made up 75.7 percent of the BBC’s total £5.0627 billion income that year.

Last night on The Martin Lewis Money Show, the expert revealed how to get cheaper car insurance.

“Cutting car insurance cost is less about common sense and more about small changes in your behaviour, that can bring big price swing,” he said on the programme.

“These days, you have to have [car] insurance if you have a car, the only time you don’t need that is if you have a SORN,” he revealed.

A SORN is used to tell the DVLA that your car isn’t parked or being used on public roads.

Martin revealed that the DVLA has done that in order to keep a record of uninsured drivers.

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