Warning as families face £700 bills hike from April

A typical family could pay around £700 a year more with many families looking to make any savings where they can, an expert has said. Among the major costs to go up from next month are energy bills, as the cap set by the Government’s energy price guarantee increases.

Rhiannon Philps, personal finance expert at NerdWallet, urged consumers to check if they can get a better deal as the price hike looms.

The main reason for the price increase is the rise of the energy price guarantee, with the annual bills of a typical household increasing from £2,500 a year to £3,000 a year.

Water bills are also increasing by 7.5 percent with households paying an extra £31 a year for their water. This increase could be even higher for some parts of the country.

Many local authorities in England are raising council tax by five percent with similar increases planned for parts of Wales and Scotland.

For the average property in Band D, this would mean a bill rise from £1,966 a year to around £2,064 a year.

Broadband and mobile bills are also going up. Ms Philps said: “From April, you could also see the cost of your mobile and broadband services rise by around 17.3 percent.

“This is because providers increase their prices in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) rate, which was 13.4 percent in January 2023, plus an extra percentage on top of this (often between 3 and 3.9 percent).

“The amount that households pay for these services varies significantly, but if you paid £45 a month, for example, a 17.3 percent increase means you could be paying over £80 more a year.”

What can I do to reduce my cost of living?

Ms Philps urged Britons to see if they can slash their bills and offered some tips about how to do this. On the topic of council tax, she said: “Don’t forget that some households are entitled to discounts on their council tax, such as a single person discount, so it’s worth seeing if you qualify for any of these.”

People who live on their own can get a 25 percent discount and some categories of people are disregarded when calculating council tax.

People aged under 18 and full-time students are disregarded. If all people in a property are disregarded, the council tax bill gets a 50 percent discount.

The expert said how much a person’s bills go up will depend on many factors but people should start “planning and budgeting” for the extra expenses.

She said: “With just over a month before these price increases are due to come in, now is a good time to start seeing if you can limit the damage.

“Firstly, you can try haggling with your broadband provider. You may not feel comfortable doing this, but if you do some research and come prepared with the costs of deals from other providers, you are in a strong position to negotiate your bill.

“The provider will want to keep you as a customer, so they may be prepared to come to some agreement.

“However, if they won’t play ball and lower their prices, you can always consider switching to a provider with a better deal.”

She encouraged people to look at other deals on the market and see if they can get a cheaper option providing the same services.

Ms Philps added: “Being proactive about finding a cheaper deal, instead of passively allowing your bills to go up, could potentially save you hundreds of pounds in the long term.

“However, if you are locked into a contract, be aware that you may need to pay exit fees which could cancel out the benefits of switching.”

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