BBC Licence Fee revealed: Over 894,000 TV licences cancelled from 2018-2019


Unity News Network is always seeking to be ahead of the game on information relating to the BBC and the licence fee, this is why I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the BBC of 9th July 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’) seeking the following information.

The request is shown below in its entirety:

“Reports have been circulating online claiming that 583,583 people have cancelled their TV licences fee between 2018-2019.


“Various websites and YouTube videos have stated this number was given to them via a Freedom of Information request made directly to the BBC.

“I wish to ask directly myself, how many TV licences have been cancelled between 2018-2019.

“Along with this, I would like to issue a further Freedom of Information in relation to the number of people who cancelled their TV licences in the first 6 months of 2020.

“As a publicly funded organisation of the British people, I hope the BBC will aid me with the obligations of providing an answer to the above Freedom of Information request in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

“Please find below the various sources claiming that 583,583 people have cancelled their licence fee between 2018-2019.




On the 10th of August, I received a reply from Rupinder Panesar, Freedom of Information Advisor, TV Licensing Management Team, I was informed: “A monthly breakdown of all cancellations for the 2018/19 financial year is readily available on the TV Licensing website at https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/about/foi-licences-facts-and-figures-AB18.

“Please note that our routine information terms some cancellations as expired, depending on the circumstances of the cancellation, and these are not reported as cancelled licences.

“As noted above, these figures relate to licences in force where the licence has been cancelled by TV Licensing as a result of payment failure, and by customers themselves.

“Therefore these figures cannot be taken to mean solely the number of licences cancelled by customers during this period.”

“I am withholding the monthly figures for the 2019/20 financial year under section 22(1)(a) of the Act; which relates to information which is intended for future publication (specifically, that the information is held with a view to its being published by the BBC at a future date)2.

“This information is intended for publication on the TV Licensing website later this calendar year, as described above.

“I am satisfied in terms of section 2(2) of the Act that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

“1 – Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the publication date for the BBC Annual Report and TV Licensing Annual Review this year has been delayed.

“2 – https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1172/information-intended-for-future-publication-and-research- information-sections-22-and-22a-foi.pdf”

UK total number of cancelled licences in force in 2018/19* – Source: www.tvlicensing.co.uk

When access the TV licensing website I was astonished to find the number of TV licences cancelled was in fact higher than previously thought.

Below is a list of the number of TV licences cancelled between April of 2018 and March of 2019:

  • April 2018- 75,021
  • May 2018- 67,716
  • June 2018- 67,604
  • July 2018- 78,753
  • August 2018- 73,367
  • September 2018 – 73,645
  • October 2018- 82,023
  • November 2018 – 75,381
  • December 2018 – 77,477
  • January 2019- 75,392
  • February 2019- 73,991
  • March 2019- 73,970
  • Total= 894,340

The total of 894,340 is significantly higher than licences cancelled in the previous 12 months totalling 788,605.

Unity News Network will be following the situation of license fees and reporting back as and when new information is made available to us.

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