From Friday 1 April, consumers will be hit by a range of inflation-busting price increases that affect many things in Britain from buying a property to going to the dentist.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief at money.co.uk, said 1 April “seems to have become ‘national price hike day … The majority of the price hikes seem pretty small, many as low as 1%. However all these small hikes add up to fewer pounds in your pocket.”
Stamp duty rise on second homes
An extra 3% stamp duty on any property bought as a second home or buy-to-let investment will add £6,000 to the cost of buying a £200,000 property. Solicitors have been working flat out to ensure deals were completed before the deadline.
Millions of families face the largest increase in council tax since 2008, after George Osborne allowed local authorities to charge an extra 2% to fund social care. Council tax in England, outside London, will rise by an average 3.6%, adding £54 to the average band D bill, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. In Greater London bills are going up by 0.6%, or £8.04 on average.
The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales for 2016-17 will be £389 – up £2 on the previous year.
However this figure disguises wide regional variations. For example, while the typical Severn Trent customer will pay a combined bill of £329, a figure that is unchanged on the previous year, an equivalent South West Water customer will have to fork out £488 (which would be £538 if it was not for a £50-a-year government contribution).
NHS prescription charges go up by 20p – from £8.20 to £8.40. That is an increase of 2.4%. However, the government says 90% of prescription items are dispensed free “and this will remain the case”.
Charges for NHS wigs and fabric supports rise by an overall 1.7%, though some people do not have to pay for these items.
NHS dental charges
Going to the dentist will now be more financially painful. The government has increased NHS dental charges by 5%, which means the cost of having a crown fitted rises by £11.20.
The charge for a band one course of treatment – which covers an examination, diagnosis and, if necessary, X-rays or a scale and polish – rises from £18.80 to £19.70 this year and to £20.60 in 2017-18. A band two course of treatment – which covers procedures such as fillings, root canal treatment and tooth removal – increases from £51.30 to £53.90, reaching £56.30 in 2017-18. Band three – which includes more complex procedures such as crowns, dentures and bridges – increases from £222.50 to £233.70, then £244.30.
The British Dental Association said the rise would discourage some patients from getting the care they need. The government said it had taken the decision to increase dental charges “for those who can afford it”.
Air passenger duty
Air travellers will pay more tax on medium- and long-haul flights. Air passenger duty on economy flights to destinations more than 2,000 miles from London – eg Egypt, the US, India and further afield – rises from £71 to £73. For those travelling in other classes, the tax rises from £142 to £146. These rates are for flights originating in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands region).
But it is not all bad news: ‘national living wage’
From 1 April the government is introducing the “national living wage” of £7.20 an hour for those aged over 25. It will benefit up to a third of workers in parts of Britain but will be less of a boost for those in London, according to the Resolution Foundation.
The chancellor set a target of £9 an hour by 2020 last summer. The Living Wage Foundation is campaigning for a higher “living wage”, currently set at £9.40 an hour in London and £8.25 in the rest of the UK.