By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB
Q: Our TV licence expires next month and I wanted to check what my options are for paying for the licence. I was also interested in whether or not there are any TV Licensing concessions available?
A: The law states you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence to watch or record television programmes as they are shown on TV. If you are caught watching television without a valid licence, you risk prosecution and a possible fine of up to £1,000. At present a colour TV licence costs £145.50 and a black and white licence costs £49.
TV Licensing offers a number of different ways to pay. The Payment Card allows people to spread the cost of the TV Licence into weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.
Other payment methods include Direct Debit, either annually, quarterly or monthly. An increasing number of people choose to pay via the website - www.tvlicensing.co.uk - using a credit or debit card; others simply pay over the phone. If you prefer, you can pop a cheque for the full amount in the post.
TV Licensing concessions are set by government and include a free licence for those aged 75 and over, and a 50 per cent reduction in the licence fee for people who are registered blind (severely sight impaired).
If someone is 74 and needs to renew their licence, they can apply for a short-term licence that will cover them until their 75th birthday or claim a refund on an existing licence for the months since they reached the age of 75.
For more information about TV licensing call on 0300 790 6071 or log on to www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info
• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk
Call Newtownabbey CAB, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org