Higher bills, new laws and higher pay - 15 important changes in April you need to be aware of

A whole host of changes are coming into effect in April (Photo: Shutterstock)
A whole host of changes are coming into effect in April (Photo: Shutterstock)
0
Have your say

April is the start of a new financial year and with it comes a whole host of changes in both the law and from companies.

From sick pay to the minimum wage, here is what you need to be aware of ahead of the start of April.

Sky price rises

Sky customers will see their contracts go up by around £2 a month if they have Sky Entertainment, Ultimate On Demand, Fibre Max or Fibre Unlimited, while Sky Broadband Unlimited bills will increase by £1 a month.

Phone contract hikes

If you have a mobile phone contract with O2, Three, or EE you will see your monthly contract go up. O2 and Three will rise by 2.5 per cent while EE contracts will see a 2.7 per cent rise.

NHS prescriptions

The cost of a prescription for the NHS will go by 20p, from £8.80 to £9, a move that won't affect those in Scotland who get their prescriptions for free.

Water bills

On average, water bills will rise an average of two per cent on 1 April, meaning UK households will be around £8 worse off per year.

State pension contributions

If you pay into a state pension at work, your contribution will go up automatically on 1 April from three per cent of your salary to five per cent, meaning you are likely to see your take-home pay decrease.

Council tax

The amount your council tax is increasing will be different dependent on where you live and your local council.

On average, council tax is rising by 4.5 per cent, but some will be paying much more while others will see their tax bill freeze.

Car tax

Drivers with high performance cars could be paying £65 more on car tax from 6 April as the Vehicle Excise Duty rises for another year. Most car drivers will pay just £5 a year.

TV licence fee

Those paying for their TV licence will see it rise by £4 compared to last year with the licence now costing £154.50, or £2.97 a week or £12.87 a month.

Energy bills

Prices of gas and oil are seeing continued rises with consumers being asked to pay the difference. A price cap on standard tariffs is due to end on 31 March with houses paying around £117 a year more than in 2018.

Stamps

First Class stamps will cost 70p and Second Class stamps 61p, an increase of 3p for each. These changes have already come into place with the price rise taking place on 25 March.

Dental fees

NHS check-ups will go up £1.10 to £22.70 in England, with band two charges which includes root canals and fillings, up £3 to £62.10.

Sick pay

The rules around sick pay will change in April which could see some workers lose their entitlement if they drop below the new weekly income threshold for statutory sick pay.

At the moment, to qualify for sick pay you must earn at least £116 a week – around £23 a day. In April, the amount of money you need to earn will rise to £118 a week.

On the plus side, the changes will also prompt a rise in how much sick pay you are entitled to. The amount you receive if you become poorly is due to rise by £2.20, to £94.25.

The amount you will receive if you go on maternity or paternity leave is also going up, with it rising from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

Minimum wage

From 1 April 2019, the minimum wage will rise for all workers. Those over 25 will see their minimum hourly rate go up to £8.21 – a rise of 38p per hour, or just under five per cent.

Annually, it could see workers handed a pay rise of around £700.

For those between 21 and 24, hourly pay will rise from £7.38 to £7.70. Workers recently out of school, between the ages of 18 and 20, will get a 25p pay rise, going from £6.90 to £7.15.

Those under the age of 18 will be entitled to £4.35 per hour, compared to £4.20.

The apprentice wage (which is applicable to those under the age of 19, or apprentices over the age of 19 and in their first year of an apprenticeship) will get a 20p rise, going from £3.70 to £3.90.

After a successful first year of an apprenticeship, an apprentice is eligible for the minimum wage for their age.

Itemised payslips

From April your payslip should show exactly how many hours you worked and what you were paid for those hours.

The move to an itemised payslip is designed to help reduce the chances of employers underpaying their employees by banning the practice of unpaid work being left off a payslip.

It will also show hourly workers whether their salary is meeting the National Living Wage.

Porn laws

The new laws surrounding supplying identification to access pornography will not change on 1 April.

Some reports had said the new age verification systems would come into place at the start of the month, but their implementation has been delayed.