Raft of household bill increases to squeeze incomes

Money experts are warning people's wallets will be hit "left, right and centre" because of a wave of rises in the cost of living from today.

Dubbed "national price hike day", today will see many bills increase.

Council tax is being put up by nearly 5% by Cheshire East and Staffordshire County councils, and there is a 3% rise in Stoke-on-Trent.

Increases approved by Newcastle and Stafford Borough Councils, and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council come into effect.

The amount paid towards fire and police services in Staffordshire and Cheshire is also going up.

New parking charges come into force in Newcastle from today, with drivers now having to pay to leave their vehicles overnight in 13 borough council car parks, though other parking charges have been frozen.

Heating bills are also expected to rise - with Co-operative Energy increasing costs by an average of 5%, adding an extra £58 a year.

From the end of March, Scottish Power announced an average increase of 7.8%

Npower has also recently hiked gas and electricity prices by 9.8%, adding about £109 to annual dual fuel bills.

The cost of NHS prescriptions is going up by 20p to £8.60, and the price of a dental check-up is rising.

Residents will be paying more for their water and sewerage by an average of £6, up to £395.

The price of a colour TV licence rises to £147 today - that's an increase of £1.50.

Posting a letter also becomes more expensive after stamp prices increased by a penny.

But there is some good news for hundreds of thousands of workers on the national living wage.

Those over 24 years old are going to receive a 30p boost to their hourly rate, taking it to £7.50.

The national minimum wage will also increase by 10p to £7.05 for those aged 21 to 24, by 5p to £5.60 for those between 18 and 20, and by 5p to £4.05 for workers aged 16 and 17.

But a study by the Low Pay Commission has found that the rise in minimum wage rates will put pressure on employers - with some companies passing the costs onto consumers in the form of price rises.


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