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TV Licence costs considered, the UK is still one of the most affordable places to get by


The planned increase in TV licence fees has caused uproar across the nation and with many of us now no longer tuning in to live TV, there have been calls to scrap it completely, which has already been done across a number of other nations. 

Currently, the UK is home to the fourth-highest TV licence cost when compared to 17 other European nations and even with the impending increase, this will remain the case. 

While £154.50 a year does seem steep for the occasional bit of prime time Attenborough, let’s look at how this ties into the overall cost of renting and how this cost of living compares to other European nations. 

We take the average cost of renting, the cost of a TV licence, the average monthly spend on utilities and the average monthly cost of that all-important internet connection, and what this equates to as a percentage of net monthly earnings.

The resulting research shows that all things considered, the UK is far from the most expensive place to live and actually ranks 13th out of the 17 nations included with 51% of income required to cover these basic outgoing. 

Only Austria, France, Germany, and Switzerland saw these costs account for a lower percentage of income, with Switzerland the most affordable of the lot coming in at just 33%.

So when you’re miffed at the thought of a TV licence increase, spare a thought for those renting in Montenegro. While the cost of a TV licence is one of the lowest, couple it with rent, utilities and internet and the basic cost of renting eats up 83% of the average salary. 

These costs also equate to between 70%-79% of income in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Albania, Slovakia, Croatia, Greece, and Portugal, with the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ireland and Italy also home to a higher cost of living as a percentage of monthly income when compared to the UK. 

There is certainly an argument to be made about the relevance of a TV licence in an age where the majority of media consumed is done via additional channels to both live TV and more specifically the BBC. 

However, when you consider it within the wider cost of living and what it equates to in relation to the earnings available, the UK is actually one of the more affordable places to get by in the rental sector.

While this still doesn’t make it easy, spare a thought for those renting in the likes of Montenegro where a much vast proportion of income goes on getting by despite the cost of a TV licence coming in about £120 cheaper than it does here.

Rankings by cost of living as a percentage of income*
Nation Cost of living as a percentage of monthly income
Montenegro 83%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 79%
Poland 79%
Albania 77%
Slovakia 76%
Croatia 74%
Greece 71%
Portugal 70%
Czech Republic 69%
Slovenia 63%
Ireland 62%
Italy 57%
United Kingdom 51%
Austria 50%
France 44%
Germany 44%
Switzerland 33%
*Cost of living includes rental cost, TV licence, internet and utilities on a monthly basis
Rankings by TV Licence cost
Nation TV licence cost (per year)
Switzerland £288.92
Austria £242.33
Germany £177.96
United Kingdom £154.50
Ireland £135.59
Slovenia £129.65
France £117.79
Croatia £116.10
Italy £76.27
Czech Republic £54.69
Slovakia £47.18
Poland £39.64
Bosnia and Herzegovina £38.98
Montenegro £35.59
Greece £30.51
Portugal £27.96
Albania £5.58
TV licence costs UK
Average Living Costs Numbeo

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