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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 14:15 GMT
TV licence to increase to 126.50
Daniela Denby-Ashe in North and South
North and South is the latest period drama from the BBC
The price of a colour TV licence will increase by 5.50 from April 2005, the government announced on Thursday.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced the increase in a statement to the House of Commons.

The rise would help provide "a strong and distinctive schedule of high quality programmes," said Ms Jowell.

However, she stressed that the BBC would be required "to raise over 1bn through efficiency savings and increased income over the same period".

The cost of a colour licence will increase by 5.50 to 126.50, and a black and white licence by 1.50 to 42, with effect from 1 April, 2005.

"The television licence fee settlement provides for changes in the licence fee of Retail Price Index plus 1.5% for each year from 2000-2001 to 2006-2007," said Ms Jowell.

High quality

"This settlement is designed to enable the BBC to provide a strong and distinctive schedule of high quality programmes and remain at the forefront of broadcasting technology."

In June, former BBC chairman Gavyn Davies said the corporation would be unlikely to ask for a TV licence fee increase when its charter is renewed.

He told an audience in Oxford the BBC would not ask for a rise "for fear of being laughed out of court".

Mr Davies left the BBC's board of governors when the corporation was criticised in the Hutton Report.

A poll conducted by ICM for Panorama earlier this year suggested almost 70% of people in the UK want changes to the way the BBC is funded.



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