FAMILIES are facing a raft of hikes on household bills – on top of the devastating effects of coronavirus.
The start of April usually sees an increase in the cost of services to keep pace with inflation.
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And firms say they will press ahead with these changes in spite of thousands of families — particularly those with their own businesses — fearing a drastic fall in income due to the crisis.
Here’s what will increase…
Broadband and TV
- Millions of Sky broadband and TV customers will see big rises from Wednesday — with an average increase of £36 a year, says Sky.The provider’s basic broadband essential service will go up by £2 a month to £22 a month, and Sky Entertainment by £2 to £24 a month.
- BT broadband customers’ bills will rise in line with inflation by 1.3 per cent, taking the cost of the unlimited broadband package to £46.08 a month — one of the highest tariffs in the country.
- TalkTalk and Virgin Media are not putting up prices, while BT subsidiary Plusnet will do it later in the year.
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- O2 and Three will see 2.7 per cent price hikes, while for EE it’s 2.2 per cent. That means around 60p a month extra for typical O2 and EE customers, while Three customers on a £20 monthly plan will see 54p added to bills. O2 said the increases only apply to airtime plans not ones that pay off a handset.
- BT Mobile bills will increase by 1.3 per cent, adding an average 11p extra a month. Around 140,000 pay-monthly Virgin Mobile customers will be shifted from discontinued pay-monthly tariffs on to an “equivalent” one. Virgin said most hikes will be less than £7 per month. Affected customers can leave their contact penalty-free or switch to a different Virgin deal before Tuesday.
- Vodafone is to increase pay-monthly prices by 2.5 per cent), meaning rises of 50p per month for customers on its most popular plan.
- Tesco Mobile bills are unaffected.
The average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England for 2020-21 will be £1,817, which is an increase of £67 or 3.9 per cent on last year’s figure of £1,750.
The cost of a single prescription in England is set to increase by 15p to £9.15 per item from Wednesday. Prescription prepayment certificates — basically season tickets which cover the cost of all prescriptions over a certain period — will rise by 55p to £29.65 for three months and by £1.90 to £105.90 for 12 months.
TV licence fees will increase from £154.50 to £157.50. In better news, over-75s will now not have to pay for their licence as had been planned after the BBC announced it would delay this new policy due to coronavirus.
The cost of a first class stamp for a standard size letter up to 100g will go up by 6p to 76p, while for larger letters it will cost an extra 9p to £1.15. Second class stamps for standard size letters will increase by 4p to 65p.
But there is good news
The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is set to fall by around £17 this year, from £413.33 to £396.60.
Morrisons is delivering essential £35 boxes filled with loo roll, pasta and bread
The energy price cap — the maximum rate that families who do not switch to cheaper deals will pay for electricity and gas — will fall by £17 from April, from £1,179 a year to £1,162 per year.
National living wage
The hourly rate for the national living wage for over-25s will increase by 50p to £8.72 from April.
The minimum wage for young people will rise, from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds, from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18 to 20-year olds and £4.35 to £4.55 for under-18s.