Price Hike Day: What you Need to Know
The cost of living for many UK residents is set to rise on April 1 as the new tax year starts. Energy companies and local authorities are set to raise their prices in what some are calling ‘Price Hike Day’. Here’s everything you need to know and what you can do about the price hikes…
There is a 4.5% average council tax rise in England but some will be paying a lot more. Band D properties for example, are to experience a tax increase of £75 on average. Contact your council as soon as possible if you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax or are behind with your payments. Your local authority can offer you a payment plan (spreading your payments over 12 months instead of the usual 10).
The TV licence fee will rise to £154.50 (a £4 increase on last year). It will now cost £2.97 a week or £12.87 a month. There will be no change to the free over 75 TV Licence. You will need a TV Licence to watch live television or use BBC’s iPlayer. But if you’re only using online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime video, you do not require a TV licence.
Sky TV and Broadband
Sky have hiked their prices with Sky Entertainment, Ultimate On Demand, Fibre Max, and Fibre Unlimited packages all costing £2 more each month, while Sky Broadband Unlimited bills will increase by £1. You can always call up your TV and Broadband provider and see if they will cut you a deal. Otherwise it’s worth doing a price comparison to see if you can get better deal elsewhere.
Energy prices will be rising so houses will be paying a typical £117 a year for most on April 1. This is due to a price cap on standard tariffs ends on March 31. There are much cheaper deals available when you switch providers – you could save £100s a year by switching! I recently switched to Bulb saving £20 a month and get £50 free credit in the process! Bulb Energy has actually reduced its gas prices, citing a reduction in wholesale costs – the perfect time to switch!
Prescriptions and Dental Fees
Those of us who pay for prescriptions will see the cost rise by 20p, from £8.80 to £9.00. Dental fees will be rising on April 1, with basic NHS check-ups up £21.10 to £22.70 in England. In some cases you may be entitled to free prescriptions and dental care. You can get free prescriptions if you’re aged under 16 or over 60, in full-time education, pregnant or have had a baby in the past 12 months. You can also get financial assistance if you’re in possession of a medical exemption certificate (MedEx) for a specified medical condition/physical disability or in receipt of income support or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Check the NHS website for more detailed information on eligibility criteria for free prescriptions and dental care in England. If none of these apply to you, don’t panic – you might still be able to get free dental treatment by applying to the NHS Low Income Support Scheme.
Three of the UKs biggest mobile networks will be increasing their prices. O2 and Three customers will see 2.5% increases with EE increasing theirs by 2.7%. If you find a better mobile network package than the one your provider offers, use this as a bargaining tool to push your current provider down in price.
Water UK has said the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is to rise by 2% from April 1st. The new average bill will be £415 (an increase of £8 from the current average). Here’s a list of ways you can reduce your water bill:
- Fix leaks. It is good to replace washers in faucets every few years, especially if you live in an older place.
- Consider a water meter. The Consumer Council For Water has a free water meter calculator that tells you if you can save with a meter.
- Keep bottles of drinking water in the fridge so you don’t have to run the tap to get cold water.
- Use the dishwasher. It takes less water to run a full load of dishes than it is to hand wash them.
- Insulate water pipes. This will help heat up your water faster, so you won’t lose as much while you’re waiting for it to heat.
- Wash clothes in cold water. It cleans your clothes as good as hot water, will preserve colours better, and will save water and energy!
- Free water-saving gadgets. Visit savewatersavemoney.co.uk, enter your postcode, then click through to your company to see the freebies available
Some drivers will be paying £65 more on car tax from April 6 after changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty but most will be paying just 5 more each year. You are entitled to a 100% exemption on your road tax if you receive the higher rate mobility component of the DLA (Disabled Living Allowance). There are a number of ways you could reduce the VED which you pay for your vehicle. Check your vehicle and see if you are entitled to any reductions in the price of road tax because of its age, its fuel usage or because of your individual personal circumstances. See more ways to reduce the cost of your car.
While some households could see a rise in bills by £240 per year there lots you can do to keep the cost down. If you’re worried about the price hikes you could look to increase your income with a regular side hustle. I’d love to know how you’re fighting national price hike day in the comments below.