April 2019’s Price Hikes: Act Now to Save £100s on Council Tax, Energy Bills & NHS Costs
by The GreenJinn Team
March 26, 2019
9 MIN READ
We believe in making fruitful savings that positively impact your life. That’s why we’re so passionate about the GreenJinn app, which slashes your grocery spend and encourages you to eat healthier. ?
It’s also why we’ve brought you this guide. On 1 April 2019, Brits will be hit with a wave of price hikes that could add hundreds to your household bills.
Why? April is the start of new tax year. Businesses and service providers raise their bills to account for the rate of inflation (and profit ?).How to avoid April 2019’s price hikes on:
Council Tax bills rising by £100 ?️
Council tax bills will rise by an average of 4.5% from April.
The increase will vary depending on where you live. For example, it’ll go up by around £71 in London and £86 in the north-east.
A Cipfa survey found that 8 in 10 local councils will impose the maximum increase. If they opt for the maximum, the national average annual Band D bill may increase by £107 to £1,778.
Our advice: challenge your Council Tax band
Check whether you’re one of the 400,000 UK households who’ve been overpaying!
Challenging your band can get your current rate lowered and even get you back-dated rebate from 1993 onwards. Some have had payouts in the thousands!
Here’s how to go about checking your council tax band:Use the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England or the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) in Scotland to compare your band with your neighbours.
If your neighbour’s property is a similar size and in a lower band, you may have a claim.Council tax bands are defined by what your house was worth in 1991. You can’t use this as evidence, but it’ll tell you how much homes on your street were sold for.
- Search on house price websites (free places to check include Nethouseprices, Zoopla and Rightmove). Look for historic sales prices.
- Note down the price and date of the most recent sale price of a similar property to yours.
You now have enough info to get the rough value of your home in 1991 – and what band it’s in.
Use Nationwide’s National House Price Calculator to get an estimated figure.Think your band is unfair? Here’s how you can challenge it…
For England: Go to Gov.uk to find out how to challenge your banding. You can also check your band on the Goverments Council Tax valuation list. It’ll ask you if you think your council tax banding is correct. You’ll be able to fill out a checklist which’ll tell you the reasons you could mount a challenge.
You can then contact the Valuation Office Agency via their online form.
For Scotland: You’ll need to go through the Scottish Assessors Association. To get started, fill out your postcode on the SAA’s Website. You’ll then be given the option to select your property – click on “Make a proposal” to start your challenge!
You could stand to get a payout in the thousands!
NHS prescription charge rising to £9 ?
The Government has announced that patients in England will pay £9 for medicines from a pharmacy after 1 April.
The cost of prescription wigs, bras and spinal supports will also rise with inflation.
Our advice: Save with prepay prescriptions and check over the counter alternatives
Prescription prepayment certificates are like a season ticket that covers the cost of prescriptions for a year.
The price of prepaid prescriptions will not change. It currently costs £29.10 for three months or £104 for a year.
If you use NHS prescriptions often, you could save around £50 a year with a prescription prepayment certificate. Anyone who lives in England can apply for one – you can get an instant digital certificate online.
Are you prescribed common medication like painkillers or dermatology creams? Check over-the-counter alternatives. They’re often cheaper than paying for a prescription. Aqueous cream for example, will cost £9 from NHS (after 1April), and only around £3 over the counter.
You can also check that you’re not eligible for FREE prescriptions, on the NHS website.
Save around £50 a year with a prescription prepayment certificate
Your dental check-up will cost £1.10 more ?
A NHS dentist may be the best option if all you require is regular check-ups. If you need more frequent visits or more intensive treatment, going to a private dental clinic may be more cost effective. Getting insurance against costs of dental emergencies or accidents could lower your costs further. Shop around.
Our advice: Dental Insurance Could be Useful
The first step of buying a dental insurance is to make sure you already don’t have one. You could already have one through the Healthcare Cash Plan (often offered as employee benefits or self bought).
Note that conditions before buying the insurance aren’t generally covered. Some insurers will require you to have had a checkup within the previous year to get a policy, so always check.
If you feel your claim has been wrongly rejected and despite your complaining, no action has been taken. You can escalate your complaint for free to Financial Ombudsman.
TV licence going up by £4 ?
The cost of a basic colour TV license is due to rise up to £154.50 from 1 April onwards.
If you’re looking to renew or buy one, act before 1 April to avoid the price hike.
Our advice: Check if you need a licence
You don’t need a license if you:
- Only watch catch-up TV, no BBC iPlayer or live TV
- Use Netflix, Youtube, Prime, etc
- Have a TV but only use it for gaming
Energy bills increasing by a staggering £117/yr ⚡
At the start of the year, customers on standard variable tariffs saw their bills fall (by an average of £76) thanks to the introduction of Ofgem’s (the government regulator for gas and electricity) energy price cap.
However, the cap has since been increased. This raises the maximum amount that gas & electricity suppliers can charge.
On average, each household can expect to pay around £117 more a year for their gas and electricity usage on a default tariff.
All of the Big Six energy suppliers will raise their prices on 1 April.
*Big six: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, SSE
Our advice: Turn off appliances and compare tariffs
Simply turning off electrical appliances when not in use could save you around £30 a year. If you’re heading to bed or out for the day, switch off your energy-sapping appliances.
Some of the worst (and easiest to switch off for a few hours) offenders are: TV, DVD, cable box, computer, printer, lighting, microwave.
Try turning the thermostat down too. Lowering by just one degree could save you £75 a year.
It’s always worth comparing tariff prices, seeing as a successful switch could save you hundreds of pounds.
Turning off electrical appliances could save you £30 a year
You could be paying an extra £8 for water bills ?
From 1 April onwards, water bills are rising by an average of 2%, that is a rise of £8/year on a typical bill.
Our advice: A few water-saving hacks
Get a water meter
With a water meter you can pay exactly for the water you use. But check if the water meter is worth your while:
- Water meter installations are not cost free in Scotland and in Northern Ireland there are no domestic water charges
- The Consumer Council For Water has a free water meter calculator that tells you if you can save with a meter. You could also call up your water company for an estimate.
Ask for an assessed charged bill
- If the water company can’t fit a meter you can ask for an assessed bill that estimates water usage based on details such as the number of people in the household, type of property and other similar details
- if you request a meter and the company’s assessed charge is higher than what a metered charge would have been, you can simply stick to your current payment method.
Water Saving Gadgets
- England and Wales residents can install water saving gadgets for free all year around
- Gadgets such as shower heads (regulate water flow), tap inserts (regulate tap water flow) and Save-A-Flush bags (bags you place into your toilet cistern so each flush uses less water)
Water efficiency site Save Water Save Money collates all the freebies up for grabs.
The utilities and services facing price hikes and how to save money
- Energy: Turn off appliances and compare tariffs
- NHS prescriptions: Save with prepay prescriptions and check over the counter alternatives
- Council tax: Challenge your council tax band
- TV licence: Check if you need a licence
- Water: Get a water meter and water-saving gadgets
- Dental check-ups: Consider dental insurance