Over 90% of Brits worried about April price rises according to Money Wellness
With a typical household’s bills set to rise by nearly £1,300 a year from April, a study by Money Wellness, a wellbeing platform specialising in free debt advice and ongoing support, has revealed that 91% of British people are worried about covering these increases.
Furthermore, only 59% of the people Money Wellness spoke to said they have worked out how much more money they’d be paying and 60% of those said they were looking at shelling out at least another £100 a month. However, some 63% had already thought about how to cover rising costs, with over half planning to cut back on non-essential spending and 13% intending to work longer hours.
A lot of those Money Wellness talked to said they had already made changes as a result of soaring inflation, with 15% reducing the amount they spend on their supermarket shop.
Ian Somerset, Chief Executive of Money Wellness said: “The result of our survey is worrying. From next month, most people will be looking at paying more for council tax, energy and water, and some will also see the cost of their broadband and mobile phone contracts go up. A lot of families have made no provision for these increases at a time when some households budgets are already squeezed.
“We believe that in the coming year, we will start to see families who have previously managed to stay on top of their payments fall into debt. Middle income families will really feel the pinch with the added pressure of mortgage rate rises when fixed deals come to an end, alongside increasing childcare costs and less financial resistance.”
Unsurprisingly, a quarter of people that Money Wellness surveyed said they were feeling stressed about money, with 17% revealing it’s affecting their mental health.
“The emotional stress of dealing with problem debt can be crippling with constant worries about paying bills on time, making ends meet and maintaining financial stability,” added Somerset. “Getting help and support as soon as possible can help to end the cycle of worry as there’s always a solution. However, in a lot of cases people continue to struggle for more than a year before reaching out.”
The survey is based on the following rises due on 1st April 2023. Below Money Wellness has highlighted the bills that will be increasing and the areas where people can make savings:
In April, 115 out of 151 councils are putting up council tax by 4.99% – the maximum allowed. With this level of increase, an average band D household will end up paying £99 a year more.
What can you do?
Challenge your council tax band
It’s thought that hundreds of thousands of homes in England and Scotland are in the wrong council tax band. If you think your property has been placed in the wrong band, you can challenge it.
If you live in England, you can find more information on making a challenge on the government website.
And if you live in Scotland, you can make a challenge through the Scottish Assessors’ Association.
Make sure you’re getting any discounts you’re entitled to
If you’re the only adult living in your property, you should make sure you’re getting the 25% single person discount. Enter your postcode on the government website to start the application process.
You may also be entitled to a discount on your council tax if you’re on a low income or you get certain benefits. Use this benefits calculator to see if you qualify.
At the moment, the annual energy bill for a typical household is about £2,500. In addition to this, we’ve all had the £400 energy bills support scheme discount to help us through the winter.
From April, the typical household bill is set to rise to £3,000 a year and the discount will come to an end. This means a typical household will be paying £900 a year more (£75 a month).
Some people expect the government to announce in its spring budget this week that it will keep the typical household energy bill at £2,500 a year. If this happens, the typical household will be looking at a monthly increase of £33.
What can you do?
Contact your supplier
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bill, the first thing you should do is speak to your supplier. You can find more information in our guide on financial help from your energy supplier.
Get a one-off fuel voucher
If you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter, your supplier might be able to give you a one-off fuel voucher. Some food banks and other local organisations also give these out. Find out where you can get one by looking on your local council’s website.
Annual water bills in England and Wales are set to rise by an average of £31 (£19 in Scotland) in April.
What can you do?
Switch to a water meter
If you don’t use much water, switching to a water meter could save you money. It’s also free so, if you’re interested, speak to your supplier.
Ask your supplier for help
Your supplier can’t turn off your water if you fall behind with your payments but they can take you to court. There is help available through your supplier though so make sure you contact them as soon as possible if you’re struggling to pay.
Use less water
If you’re on a meter, you can cut costs by reducing the amount of water you use. Try taking shorter showers, always use a washing up bowl when doing the pots and use eco modes on your appliances.
Broadband and mobile
Lots of broadband and mobile phone providers are increasing the amount they charge by 14.4% in April, with O2 and Virgin introducing rises of 17.3%. This will mean an average family with two adults and two children – all with their own mobiles – could end up paying around £210 a year more for their phones, and more than £50 a year extra for broadband.
What can you do?
If you’re coming to the end of your contract, your best bet is to search for a cheaper deal. You can either use a price comparison site or haggle with your current provider to see what they can offer.
If you’re getting certain benefits, you may be entitled to discounted broadband. Use this benefits calculator to see if you qualify.
Other cost-of-living support
Household support fund
Local councils are offering low-income families financial support to help with the cost of living. What and how much you can get under the household support fund depends on your circumstances and where you live.
You’ll need to be quick if you want to apply though, as most schemes are due to close at the end of March. Find out more, including how to apply on the government website.