Council tax, water and mobile bills rise for millions

Council tax, water and mobile bills rise for millions

Rises in a host of essential bills are now taking effect, adding pressure to strained budgets - but the lowest earners are also receiving better pay.

The start of April marks the point at which council tax, water bills, and some mobile costs rise, coming just as food prices are soaring.

But the biggest cash increase in the 24-year history of the minimum wage also comes into force.

Nearly two million people will receive £10.42 an hour from now, a 92p rise.

Those on the lowest incomes have been hardest hit by the soaring cost of living, because a greater proportion of their money is eaten up by vital household costs, such as energy and groceries.

A series of bill rises is likely to add to the financial burden felt by people like mother-of-five Catherine Griffin. Even though her partner works full-time, they are struggling to deal with council tax arrears.

"I just feel like I'm treading water and I'm never actually going to pay the council tax off," said the 45-year-old from Middleton, near Rochdale.

"I'm trying my best to pay it, but obviously with five children, it is difficult."

Council tax rises

The government has allowed local authorities in England to increase council tax by up to 5%, and most have opted for the biggest possible rise. That means an increase of about £100 a year for the average band D property. Last year, residents in bands A to D homes received £150 off their bill to help with the cost of living, but that was a one-off.

There are discounts for those living on their own, or in a home that has been adapted to take account of disabilities. Support grants are also available, but all need to be claimed.

Different systems operate in Wales - where the typical rise is about 5.5%, and in Scotland - where many areas see a 3% increase. The alternative domestic rating system in Northern Ireland will see households pay at least 6% more.

Energy discount is over

The winter discount for nearly all billpayers has now come to an end, with no sign of the government repeating the support. This saw a total of £400 taken off energy bills by suppliers, in six instalments of about £67 a month.

In some areas, standing charges - the fixed costs of being connected to the network - are going up.


This will increase some bills, even though the warmer, longer days should reduce gas and electricity usage. Bills had been scheduled for a sharper rise in April, but ministers offered a three-month extension to the Energy Price Guarantee, which caps the unit price of energy and means the typical household will pay £2,500 a year.

The next round of cost-of-living payments, worth hundreds of pounds for eight million people on low incomes and receiving benefits will be paid automatically towards the end of the month.

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