Energy bills support scheme ends but more support to come

All households in England, Scotland and Wales with a domestic energy supply have received a £400 discount off their bills, paid in instalments over the past six months with the final payment in March. The bills increase is made worse by the fact the cap set by the energy price guarantee is increasing next month, with a typical household’s energy bills to rise from £2,500 a year to £3,000 a year.

In efforts to help struggling Britons, the Government is providing further cost of living payments for those on low incomes.

People on certain means-tested benefits are to get a £900 cost of living payment, in three instalments, over the coming financial year.

The first instalment of £301 will be paid in spring 2023, with a £300 payment in autumn and a £299 payment in spring 2024.

Millions of people are expected to qualify for the payment, as benefits such as Universal Credit and tax credits may qualify a person for the payment.

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Payments will be made automatically with the Government yet to announce exact dates for the instalments, or the qualifying week for the payment.

People on disability benefits are also to get a separate £150 payment in summer 2023 and there will be a £300 cost of living payment for pensioners, to go out during winter 2023/2024.

The Government has also invested further funding in the Household Support Fund, which is given to local councils to support vulnerable families.

The money is being handed out in different ways with some authorities providing supermarket vouchers while others are paying money directly into people’s bank accounts.

People on benefits are also to get a payment boost from next month, with many benefits increasing by 10.1 percent, including Universal Credit, PIP and Pension Credit.

The state pension is also increasing by 10.1 percent including the basic state pension and new state pension.

The full basic state pension is increasing from £141.85 a week to £156.20 a week while the full new state pension is going up from £185.15 a week to £203.85 a week.

People struggling to pay their energy bills may want to consider approaching their supplier to come up with a pay plan, to make their payments more affordable.

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Many suppliers provide grants for their customers to help clear energy debt, including British Gas, which has a fund available to all Britons.

Other bills increasing from April include water bills and council tax, with many authorities in England set to increase their council tax rates by five percent.

Broadband and mobile bills are also increasing by up to 17 percent with bills increasing by up to £100 a year.

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, warned many people face a “serious blow” to their finances from April.

She said people could see their costs increase by up to £2,500 a year with tax increases on top of bills going up.

Ms Coles said: “It’s going to be an incredibly painful few weeks as we adjust to even higher costs, so those who rely on pensions or benefits to make ends meet will need every penny of the 10.1 percent rise they’ll be getting in April.”

One tax set to hit many Britons for the first time is capital gains tax, as the threshold for the tax is being halved in April from £12,300 to £6,000.

The dividend tax allowance is also being slashed in April from £2,000 to £1,000.

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