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Jowell to announce TV licence rise

Fee will rise to a maximum £151 by 2012


A remote control pointed at a television screen.

The television licence fee will rise by 3 per cent in each of the next two years, BBC News 24 has reported.

The new deal, which will be outlined in full by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell today, will include a rise to a maximum £151 by 2012.

The BBC had pressed the government for an above-inflation increase on the current £131.50 fee over the next six years.

After the first two 3 per cent rises the increases will slow before reaching the maximum agreed figure in 2012.

‘Real disappointment’

BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, talking before the official announcement, described the expected figures as ‘a real disappointment’.

In an email to staff he said the corporation would face ‘some very difficult choices’ if forced to accept a below-inflation increase.

Unions warned that such a deal would lead to heavy job losses and would seriously hit programmes.

The government has already announced a £600 million portion of the settlement will be ‘ring-fenced’ to help pay for the digital switchover.

Digital switchover

A spokeswoman for the BBC said the corporation would not comment further until the official announcement.

Meanwhile, the government has acknowledged that the switchover to digital television will increase electricity consumption.

Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Hodge said the rise in set-top boxes was expected to increase domestic electricity consumption by 0.37 per cent.

Digital transmission is more efficient than analogue and is expected to reduce energy usage by the transmission networks, she said in a Commons written reply.

‘The central estimate for the total impact of switchover is a net increase of 1,705 gigawatt hours per year but this would be reduced if industry makes more energy efficient products,’ she said.

The switchover from analogue transmission is due to take place in stages up to 2012.

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