Household bills surge in UK

Every household is preparing for significant increases in their utility and service bills, from water to broadband, as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis intensifies. Despite a slight relief in inflation, an array of bill and tax hikes set for Monday will exacerbate the strain on family budgets, continuing a trend that started over two years ago.

Starting Monday, costs for services like phone, broadband, and water are set to climb, alongside increases in TV licence fees, vehicle tax, dental costs, and council tax. Water bills, for instance, are expected to rise by 6%, or £27 annually, bringing the average bill to £473. This increase will vary regionally, with Wessex Water users seeing the highest jump to £548 annually. Thames Water customers will face a £15 rise, with average bills reaching £471.

UK Water has defended these hikes by pointing to a record £14.4 billion investment planned for the next year aimed at improving sewage treatment and securing water supplies.

Telecom firms are also increasing their charges by up to 8.8% in April for customers outside fixed-rate contracts. Virgin Media is leading the way with the steepest increase at 8.8%, while other major providers like Plusnet and Vodafone plan increases of 7.9%. These adjustments could mean an additional £27.19 for broadband and £24.23 for mobile phone bills on average, according to USwitch.

In terms of council tax, residents in most parts of England will see a 5.1% rise, an attempt by financially stretched local authorities to cover service costs. This means an average increase of £106 for band D households, pushing the total annual bill to £2,171. While Scotland has frozen council tax until 2025, Wales and Northern Ireland are experiencing variable hikes.

The cost of the TV licence will jump by 6.6% to £169.50 after a two-year halt, and postage stamps will see a 10p increase. NHS dental charges are set to rise by 4%, with a standard check-up costing £26.80. Vehicle tax will also see an approximately £10 increase for most cars, depending on their emission levels.

However, there’s a silver lining with the energy price cap decreasing by 12%, bringing the annual bill down from £1,928 to £1,690 for a typical household. This reduction follows a period of heightened prices due to geopolitical tensions affecting gas prices.

Moreover, with the upcoming adjustments, the minimum wage is slated to rise from £10.42 to £11.44, benefiting around 2.5 million people with a significant annual pay boost. Additionally, most benefits, including universal credit and the state pension, are set to increase by 6.7% and 8.5%, respectively, offering some relief amid rising costs.

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