Moving to a new country means you’ll have to get used to the different types of bills that you will be expected to pay. Most bills come monthly in the UK and it might be worthwhile to have an overview of the bills you can expect to have dropping through the letterbox of your London apartment.
Your other bills will be for satellite TV (cable), internet and your mobile phone. Living in London is expensive and you’ll have to keep track of all of your monthly payments so you don’t fall into arrears.
If you are moving to London, you can expect to pay a licence fee to watch the public broadcaster. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) provides television programming, radio and internet services across England and uses the funds from licence fees to keep it in business. How the BBC differs from other networks and media companies, is that it relies entirely on the funds from licence fees. Other TV channels have advertising breaks during their programmes which pay for the programming. The BBC has no paid advertising on any of their channels.
The yearly cost of a TV licence is £145.50 for a colour TV. A black and white television set is £49, and yes some people still have them! You can either pay your licence fee on an annual basis or you can pay it using one of the varied payment options that are available to everyone across Great Britain. The monthly option is somewhat complicated. You’ll pay about £25 per month for the first six months (covering your first year of fees) and then £12 per month from the seventh month onwards which takes care of next year’s licence fee. The best thing to do if you’re going to be living in London for a few years is to set up a debit order from your bank account to pay the TV licence, so it’s all handled electronically.
One thing to be aware of is the penalty of ducking out of paying your licence fee. The Brits take their BBC license fees seriously. Detector vans are used to pick up signals from properties in and around London and the fine for not having a valid licence fee can be as high as £1000. Even if you do not have a television and watch the broadcaster over the internet, or on your mobile phone, you are still liable for the licence fee. The BBC is somewhat of a British institution and has some of the best programming in England. A lot of it is broadcast worldwide (BBC America, BBC Entertainment) and it really is worth it.
Get your licence fee as soon as you move into your London rental and you won’t have to think about it again.
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