Brace yourself for another attack on your wallet.
Even if you receive benefits that are going to be uprated in line with the lowest possible level of inflation the government thinks it can get away with, it probably won’t cover the increases in your costs.
Rises to the different level of the minimum wage certainly won’t. It’s not a living wage, despite being called that by Tories.
Let’s have a look at what’s coming:
Council tax to rise
The majority of households in England will be hit by a whopping 5% in April in fresh cost of living misery for families. Three struggling councils have been given special permission by the Government to impose higher rises – up to 10% for Thurrock and Slough, and an eye-watering 15% for Croydon.
Band D properties will pay around an extra £100 if they don’t receive any discounts.
Water bills to increase
From April, average water bills will again increase by less than inflation, meaning prices will continue their decade-long fall in real terms. Bills will rise by an average of £31 to £448 a year (equivalent to around 60p more each week)
Support for low-income households is also being increased to its highest level ever. More than 1 million households already receive help with water bills, which is being increased to 1.2 million over coming months.
Wages will increase
The National Living Wage and National Minimum wage will rise for all kinds of workers across the country. Depending on your age and work status, you will receive one of the following increases:
National Living Wage – Increased to £10.42 (annual increase of 9.7 per cent)
21-22-year-old rate – Increased to £10.18 (annual increase of 10.9 per cent)
18-20-year-old rate – Increased to £7.49 (annual increase of 9.7 per cent)
16-17-year-old rate – Increased to £5.28 (annual increase of 9.7 per cent)
Apprentice Rate – Increased to £5.28 (annual increase of 9.7 per cent)
Accommodation Offset – Increased to £9.10 (annual increase of 4.6 per cent)
Broadband and mobile bills will increase
From April, broadband and mobile phone customers can expect to face monthly bill increases of at least 14% from April.
Providers link their annual price rises to January’s consumer price index (CPI) or the retail price index (RPI) which was 10.5% and 13.4%. BT, EE, Plusnet and Vodafone broadband contracts allow prices to go up by CPI plus 3.9%. At TalkTalk, it is CPI plus 3.7%, while Shell Energy can add CPI plus 3%. Sky and Virgin Media contracts allow mid-contract price increases but they do not stipulate a pricing formula in the same way as rivals.
Universal Credit, PIP and pension to increase
Inflation-linked benefits and tax credits will rise by 10.1% from April 2023, in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation in September 2022. Jeremy Hunt said the ‘expensive commitment’ worth £11 billion means 10 million working-age families will see a much-needed increase next year and, on average, a family on universal credit will benefit next year by around £600.
The benefit cap will rise from £23,000 to £25,323 for families in Greater London and from £20,000 to £22,020 for families nationally. Lower caps for single households without children will rise from £15,410 to £16,967 in Greater London and from £13,400 to £14,753 nationally.
Benefits which will rise by 10.1% include Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Disability Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.
Source: Cost of Living: 5 big changes coming into effect in April that everyone should know about
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