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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 18:06 GMT
TV licence fee to rise to 131.50
BBC chairman Michael Grade (left) and director general Mark Thompson
The licence fee funds BBC programmes
The television licence fee is to rise to 131.50 from 1 April, a 4.2% increase, the government has announced.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said it would enable the BBC to continue to provide a "strong and distinctive schedule". The current fee is 126.50.

She said the licence fee for 2006-7 would enable the BBC to remain at the "forefront of broadcasting technology".

The current settlement allows for the fee to be increased by the level of inflation plus 1.5% up to April 2007.

The government also revealed that the total television licence fee revenue collected by the BBC for 2000-1 to 2004-5 was more than 13bn.

Digital services

The corporation has already asked the government for its next settlement, to run for seven years from 2007 to 2013.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said a 2.3% rise above inflation would fund programmes and digital services.

For example, the corporation plans to make TV shows available via broadband internet for up to seven days after broadcast - alongside the existing "listen again" feature for radio.

That will include being able to watch shows on the internet at the same time as they are broadcast on TV. And, in a bid to offer a wide range of digital services, portable devices, such as mobile phones, will have access to more material.

The range of services that the corporation aims to offer includes new local radio stations and High Definition TV.

The BBC is also required to help the nation switch over to digital TV during the switchover period, 2008-2012.




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