Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

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Millions of households around Britain will see their bills going up from tomorrow as the cost of living crisis continues.

From midnight tonight the 90% of homes on variable rate tariffs will see energy costs go up by 54% this year – of £693 for the average household.

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Council tax and water rates are also going up, while petrol and diesel prices are at near-record highs.

These are some of the big changes coming into force this month.

Council tax

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New council tax rates affecting almost all households – unless you are exempt – to rise.

The official cap on how much local authorities can increase is 5% – made up of a 2% council tax rise and an additional 3% for social care.

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Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

England’s average Band D council tax bill will go up by £67 ( Image: Leicester Mercury / Chris Gordon)

England’s average Band D council tax bill will go up by £67, to nearly £2,000 a year.

Advice – Set up a direct debit for their council tax payments to ensure you receive the £150 rebate announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help with the soaring cost of energy.

Applies to households in England in Council Tax Bands A to D properties. Look out for Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction), which is there to help people who are on a low income or claiming certain benefits.

Energy price cap

Around 22million households will be impacted, whether you are on a standard variable tariff or a prepayment meter.

The average SVT customer will see their annual bill rocket by 54%, a whopping £693, to £1,971.

Prepayment meter customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

Advice – The top tip in normal times was to switch from an SVT to a fixed rate deal. But things have turned on their head, and fixed rate tariffs are expensive.

That said, some providers are offering fixed deals to their customers directly that may be better value than those offered on the wider market. Try, if it is possible and can be done safely, to cut your energy use.

Tips include running your washing machine at 30C, turning your heating down by 1C, and turning off lights and appliances when not being used.

Make sure your energy supplier is working from actual meter reading, rather than an estimate.

And, if you are struggling, alert your supplier – if you are in debt, they are supposed to help manage repayments.

Some, including British Gas, have emergency funds to help those struggling.

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

Around 22million households will be impacted by a rise in energy bills prices ( Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Minimum wage

The so-called National Living Wage is the Government’s set minimum rate that employers must pay staff aged 23 and over for each hour worked.

Essentially, if you’re over 23, you are legally entitled to the National Living wage.

If you’re under 23, you are only entitled to the National Minimum Wage, which varies based on your age.

The living wage is rising from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 an hour from tomorrow.

The minimum wage for people aged 21-22 is set to rise from £8.36 to £9.18 an hour. The Apprentice Rate will also slightly increase from £4.30 to £4.81 an hour.

Advice – The main tip is to ensure your employers is complying with the law. Some firms, including big names, have been caught by technicalities.

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

The living wage is rising from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 an hour ( Image: PA)

Water bills

Average household water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are set to rise by around £7 a year (1.7%), but some residents could actually see their bills fall this year.

According to industry body Water UK, the average yearly water bill in England and Wales will rise to £419 from an average of £412 last year.

However, there is some variation across England and Wales, with some customers’ bills increasing by up to £35 a year, while some will fall by up to £31 a year.

In Scotland, water and sewerage prices depend on your council tax band and are covered by what’s called a “combined service charge”.

Households in Scotland will see these water and waste charges increase by an average of 4.2% from April.

Advice – You may be able to save money on water by getting a meter. Many water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts which can help you pay your bills.

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

Average household water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are set to rise by around £7 a year ( Image: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Deadline to switch your Post Office account

From April 4, the price of first class stamp will be 95p, up 10p, with a second class stamp rising by 2p to 68p.

From April 5, the Post Office will stop accepting payments for tax credits, Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance.

Around 7,500 Brits still get these payments into their Post Office card accounts, but HMRC will soon stop allowing this.

From now on, anyone who has not switched these payments to a new account will get nothing until they do.

Advice – Customers can choose to receive their HMRC benefits into a bank, building society or credit union account.

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

Stamp prices are also increasing ( Image: PA)

State pension

There will be a 3.1% increase in the full new state pension in 2022/23 from April 11.

How much you will receive is based on your National Insurance record when you reach state pension age.

You will only get the full amount if you have a minimum 35 full qualifying years of contributions.

Someone on the full old state pension will increase to £141.85 per week and anyone on the full rate of new state pension will increase to £185.15.

Cost of Living

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

Our Cost of Living team of experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They'll be bringing you the latest money news stories and also providing specialist advice.

Whether it's rocketing energy bills, the cost of the weekly shop or increased taxes, our team will be with you all the way.

Every Thursday at 1pm they will take part in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit facebook.com/dailymirror/live to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please get in touch by emailing webnews@mirror.co.uk.

National insurance

From April 6, National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25 percentage points. This will be spent on the NHS, health and social care in the UK.

However, not everyone will have to pay it as the Chancellor has just raised the NI threshold.

At present, most workers start paying National Insurance contributions when their income hits £9,568.

They pay 12% of earnings between £9,568 and £50,270, then 2% on any earnings above £50,270.

However the latest tweak means from April, National Insurance will only have to be paid by those earning over £12,570 a year – the same level as income tax starts being paid.

In short, that means anyone earning less than about £35,000 a year will pay less National Insurance.

That is about 70% of all workers.

Eight major cost of living blows coming this month - and top tips to ease the pain

From April 6, National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25 percentage points ( Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

TV and telecoms

BT says most of its customers will see an increase of 9.3%, an extra £3.50 a month.

Prices will stay the same for financially vulnerable customers on BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver and BT Basic.

Rival Sky will raise broadband and pay TV prices on some of its TV packages from today (Fri).

Landline customers will also see their bills rise from the beginning of May.

Sky says the average price increase will be less than 5%.

Advice – Home service providers often rely on us sticking with them year after year.

So it is always a good idea to do an annual check to see what rivals are offering, but make sure you look at service and breadth of content rather than price alone.

And remember, if you threaten to leave, providers often have a habit of magically finding a new price.

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