Eight big cost-of-living hits coming this month — and top tips to ease the pain


Millions of households across the UK will see their bills soar from tomorrow as the cost of living crisis lingers.

As of midnight tonight, the 90% of households on variable tariffs will see their energy bills rise by 54% this year – by £693 for the average household.

Council tax and water prices are also on the rise, while petrol and diesel prices are near record highs.

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

council tax

New council tax rates that affect almost all households – unless you’re exempt – are rising.

The official cap on how much local authorities can raise is 5% – consisting of a 2% increase in council tax and an additional 3% for welfare.

England’s average council tax bill in Band D will rise by £67


Leicester Mercury / Chris Gordon)

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

advisory – Set up a direct debit for your council tax payments to ensure you get the £150 rebate announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help with rising energy bills.

Applies to households in England in properties in Council Tax Bands A to D. Look out for Council Tax Support (aka Council Tax Reduction) which is there to help people on low incomes or on certain benefits to take.

Price ceiling for energy

Around 22 million households are affected, whether they use a standard variable tariff or a prepaid meter.

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

Prepaid meter customers will see a £708 increase from £1,309 to £2,017.

advisory – The top tip in normal times was to switch from an SVT to a fixed income deal. But things have turned upside down and fixed rates are expensive.

However, some providers offer fixed deals directly to their customers, which may be cheaper than those offered in the broader market. If possible and safe, try to reduce your energy consumption.

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

Make sure your utility company works with the actual meter reading and not an estimate.

And if you’re having trouble, notify your supplier – if you’re in debt, they’re supposed to help you manage the repayments.

Some, including British Gas, have emergency funds in place to help those affected.

Around 22 million households will be affected by increases in energy bill prices


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

minimum wage

The National Living Wage is the minimum rate set by the government that employers must pay employees aged 23 and over for every hour worked.

If you are over the age of 23, you are essentially eligible for the National Living Wage.

If you are under the age of 23, you are only entitled to the national minimum wage, which varies by age.

Living wage rises 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 be increased slightly from £4.30 to £4.81 per hour.

advisory – The most important tip is to make sure your employer is compliant with the law. Some companies, including big names, have been caught out by technical problems.

The living wage will rise from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 an hour



water bills

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

The average annual water bill in England and Wales will rise to £419 from £412 last year, according to industry body Water UK.

However, there are some differences in England and Wales, with some customers’ bills going up by up to £35 a year while others will go down by up to £31 a year.

In Scotland, water and waste water prices depend on your council tax and are covered by what is known as a ‘combined service charge’.

For households in Scotland, these water and waste charges will increase by an average of 4.2% from April.

advisory – You may be able to save money on water by getting a meter. Many water companies operate hardship schemes or fund independent charities that can help you pay your bills.

Average household water and waste water bills in England and Wales are expected to increase by around £7 a year


(Getty Images/EyeEm)

Deadline for changing your postal account

From 4 April the price of a first class stamp is 95p, up 10p, and a second class stamp is up 2p to 68p.

As of April 5, Swiss Post will no longer accept payments for tax credits, child benefits, and child support payments.

Around 7,500 Britons are still receiving these payments into their postcard accounts, but HMRC will soon no longer allow this.

Anyone who hasn’t switched these payments to a new account will henceforth get nothing until they do.

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

Stamp prices are also increasing



State Pension

From 11 April there will be a 3.1% increase in the full state pension in 2022/23.

How much you get depends on your social security record when you reach statutory retirement age.

You will only receive the full amount if you have at least 35 full years of contributions.

Someone receiving the full old State Pension increases to £141.85 per week and anyone receiving the full rate of the New State Pension increases to £185.15.

Our team of cost of living experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They bring you the latest money news and also offer expert advice.

Whether it’s skyrocketing utility bills, the cost of weekly groceries, or increased taxes, our team is always by your side.

Every Thursday at 13:00 they participate in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please email

State Insurance

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

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

Currently, most workers start paying social security contributions when their income reaches £9,568.

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

But the latest tweak means that from April Social Security will only have to be paid by people earning over £12,570 a year – the same level at which income tax starts paying.

In short, this means that anyone earning less than £35,000 a year pays less National Insurance.

That is about 70% of all employees.

From April 6, social security contributions will increase by 1.25 percentage points


Alamy Stock Photo)

television and telecom

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

The prices for financially weak customers of BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver and BT Basic remain the same.

Rival Sky is raising broadband and pay-TV prices on some of its TV packages from today (Fri).

Bills for fixed-line customers will also increase from the beginning of May.

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

advisory – Home service providers often rely on us to stay with them year after year.

As such, it’s always a good idea to review what the competition is offering annually, but make sure you’re looking at the service and breadth of content and not just the price.

And remember, when you’re threatening to leave, vendors often have a habit of magically finding a new price.

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Fry Electronics Team

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