The broadcaster’s interim Chief Operating Officer Glyn Isherwood told MPs those deciding not to pay for the service had risen from 1.5 million to 1.7 million in 2020.
He told the Public Accounts Committee: “Licence is collected on the basis of the number of households in the UK. There are more than 27 million households in the UK.
“At the moment 1.7 million of those take the option not to have a TV licence and do not enjoy the BBC services.
“The rest of them, more than 25 million at the moment, do pay for a licence, and that includes people over the age of 75, some of whom get a free licence if they are in receipt of pension credit.”
He added: “We do know that last year there was a small increase and the current figures are 1.7 million people who have taken that option and that grew from the previous year of 1.5 million.”
Director-general Tim Davie admitted the corporation was carefully watching the number as it could have a significant impact of the finances of the BBC going forward.
“We are watching the number like hawks,” he told the committee.
“This is the majority of our revenue and is absolutely critical to us.”
More to follow…