Beer Industry

Bleak Friday: UK prices are rising from 1 April, from energy bills to TV

Illustration of a radiator, vehicle, lateral flow test, TV remote control, home, drink and wallet Show caption Energy bills, car tax and TV streaming are just some of the costs that are rising from 1 April. Composite: Guardian
Cost of living crisis

Britons face a shock as household costs soar – and some unexpected items such as beer also go up

It’s been dubbed “bleak Friday” by some: pre-announced price rises for many household bills are to take effect on 1 April, adding to the misery for consumers who are already paying more for goods and food than this time last year.

Energy bills – up 54%, £693 a year, on average

The price cap on energy bills for households in Great Britain has increased by 54%, meaning providers can charge up to £1,971 a year for customers with average use who have a direct debit set up. Average use is 3,100kWh of electricity and 12,000kWh of gas, so any household using more power will pay more. The cap varies around the country and according to how you pay. Those who settle their bills when they receive them will typically pay £130 a year more, while pre-payment customers with average use pay £47 more.

Council tax – up 3.5%, £67 a year, on average

The average annual council tax bill on a band D property in England goes up to £1,966. London boroughs are increasing band D bills by an average of 2.4%, while households in shire counties will see the largest rise, at an average of 3.7%. They will also see the highest bills, at an average of £2,041.

Water bills – up 1.7%, £7, a year

Water bills in England and Wales will rise by an average of 1.7% to £419. Customers of Severn Trent face a rise of £26 to £389, while households with Wessex will see a £16 rise to £460. Other water companies including South West Water are reducing annual bills by similar sums.

Broadband, phones and TV – about £42 a year

Telecoms and streaming companies have announced price hikes across their services. Some, including Virgin, have already applied increases this month. Customers of Sky, BT and Vodafone could all face higher bills from today. Sky’s Essential broadband package has gone up by 10% to £27.50 a month, while the Superfast service is up 9% to £30.50 a month. On average it says customers will pay less than 5%, or £3.60, more.

BT’s prices went up on Thursday by 9.3%, which it said meant customers paying an average of £3.50 a month more. Some customers, including those with BT Basic or Home Essentials, will not see prices rise.

Vodafone is hiking monthly mobile phone bills by up to 9.3%. If your plan started before 9 December 2020, it will go up by 8.2% to reflect the retail prices index (RPI) rate published in March 2022. A £40 plan will go up by £3.28. If your contract was taken out more recently, your monthly cost will go up by 9.3%. For a £40 plan, that means shelling out an extra £3.72.

Vehicle excise duty – about £10 a year

The annual cost of taxing your car is rising in line with RPI – typically the highest measure of inflation. VED is based on a range of factors including how old your car is, as well as its emissions and fuel type. Tax on a band E car is increasing from £155 a year to £165. The most polluting cars are subject to a £30 increase.

Pint of beer – up 5%, 20p, each

A temporary VAT cut on hospitality has come to an end, and pubs and restaurants are among business that will pay 60% more in tax as a result. Some of the rise, from 12.5% to 20% VAT, is expected to filter through to prices charged. The night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester has forecast that over the next three months this and other price pressures will add 16-20p to the price of a pint, taking the UK average to £4.25.

Lateral flow tests – from £1 each

The government in England will no longer provide free LFTs to most households. Most of those asked to do one before visiting relatives in care homes, or attending a venue or service, will need to pay. Retailers including Tesco and Boots are charging £2 for individual tests, although cheaper options are advertised online.

Social housing rents – up 4.1%, £202 on average, a year

Housing associations have been allowed to raise rents and service charges in line with September’s consumer prices index (CPI) figure plus one percentage point, which comes to 4.1%. The Resolution Foundation thinktank says this works out at an average of £202 a year for the 4.5m households affected.

The rents charged on shared ownership properties are often linked with the higher RPI, and many tenants are facing increases of more than 5%.

Council tax rebate – £150 to households

Households in band A-D properties will get a council tax rebate this month – if you pay by direct debit, it could land in your account soon. This is part of the government’s plan to help towards rising costs, and is now tipped to be followed with a second rebate. If you qualify but do not pay by direct debit, you will need to apply – your council should contact you to tell you how.

Minimum wage – up 6.6%, about £1,000 a year

In more welcome news, pay is also rising. The government’s “national living wage” has gone up by 59p an hour to £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over. For those aged 21 to 22, the minimum will increase by 9.8% from £8.36 to £9.18.

• This article was amended on 4 April 2022. An earlier version mistakenly said that customers of South West Water faced a rise of £12 to £515, and those of Wessex a £21 rise to £476. South West Water’s average customer bills will in fact decrease this year by £31 to £472; Wessex’s will see a £16 increase to £460. It was further amended on 6 April 2022 to remove an incorrect reference to Hafren Dyfrdwy and Thames reducing annual water bills.

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