The TV licence is for all live and recorded TV programmes provided by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) or any other TV channel. It is a criminal offence to use these services without the BBC licence. Since 2000, the UK Government has been funding the yearly £725 million cost of giving free TV licences to over-75-year-olds. This funding was for a 20-year period, ending in June 2020.
The BBC has been contributing just over 10% of the cost for the last few years and has decided that it cannot afford to take on the full cost, so will abolish free licences after 31st May 2020. It will give exemptions to those on the lowest incomes, i.e. in receipt of Pension Credit, presumably funded by the equivalent of its existing contribution.
The over-75s make up a huge section of the BBC’s audience, so this is a very unpopular course of events. The licence will cost them £157.50 per year (this will increase annually) and the maximum fine for non-payment is £1,000.