Social Justice

DWP benefits, rent rises and tax: All the tax year changes that will affect you from April 2024

1 April is the start of the new financial year and a landmark date for all kinds of changes to come into effect. From council tax hikes to benefits uprates, we've broken down how you might be impacted

DWP, benefits

The DWP will increase a range of benefits from April. But some charges will also increase. Image: Pexels

From council tax and DWP benefits to new rights at work, 1 April will see a host of changes to your bank account and daily life. That is, the start of the new financial year is significant even for those of us who are unmoved when somebody says ‘Q3’.

Against a backdrop of inflation and an economy in recession, there are hikes to common prices and charges. But there are also increases to benefits which may help make ends meet.

Here’s what’s changing on 1 April.

Social rents

If you’re living in a socially rented home, it’s likely your rent will increase in April.

Housing associations and councils can apply a maximum 7.7% increase from 1 April. This is calculated by the CPI inflation rate in the previous autumn plus 1%.

Service charges

While rent increases are capped, service charges can be increased by an unlimited amount.

Tory MP Gavin Williamson has called on the government to cap service charge increases – and told the Big Issue Michael Gove can do it before the next election without legislation.

Pensions are going up

The fabled triple lock means the state pension is set to increase by 8.5%, with the full weekly rate for the new state pension increasing from £203.85 to £221.20.

As a recap, the triple lock means pensions increase by whichever is highest out of wage growth, inflation or 2.5%.

DWP benefits including PIP, universal credit will be increasing

The DWP will increase a range of benefits by 6.7% – matching the rate of inflation in September 2023.

For single people aged 25 and over who receive universal credit, the standard monthly allowance will increase from £368.74 to £393.45.

The disability allowance known as personal independence payments, or PIP, is also increasing. The standard daily living component will increase from £101.75 to £108.55 per week.

The full range of benefit increases can be found on the government website – with rates depending on individual circumstances.

Maternity and paternity pay will increase by just under £12 a week

Statutory maternity and paternity pay will increase from £172.48 to £184.03 per week.

Statutory sick pay 

For those off work sick, statutory sick pay will increase from £109.40 a week to £116.75.

Local housing allowance

In the first increase since 2020, local housing allowance will be raised to the 30th percentile of local rents. It’s estimated to give households an extra £785 a year.

The rates were increased by Jeremy Hunt in the autumn statement following massive pressure, including a campaign from The Big Issue.

Council tax

Councils across the country are going bust. Alongside cutting services and selling off assets, they’re increasing council tax to find some extra cash.

For many, a 4.99% increase means extra bills of around £100 a year. But for some councils in dire straits the increases are more stark.

We explored how we got in this mess here.

National Insurance

National Insurance will go from 10% to 8% on 6 April, thanks to one of the most high-profile measures in Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget. The Treasury says this will save £450 a year for the average worker, but for those earning £20,000 it will save around £150 a year.

Awaab’s Law

The tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from exposure to mould in his home, has resulted in lasting change.

Awaab’s Law comes into force on 1 April, and means social housing landlords must act swiftly on poor conditions.

They must investigate hazards within 14 calendar days – which does not mean 14 working days. If the hazard is a significant risk to health, repairs must begin within a further seven days, and completed within a “reasonable timeframe”. Emergency repairs must be completed within 24 hours.

If repairs can’t be completed, social housing landlords must find alternative accommodation.

Minimum wage increase

Those aged 21 or 22 will be entitled to the national living wage from 1 April, which stands at £11.44. It’s an increase of £1.36 an hour.

Workers previously had to be 23 or over to be entitled to the national living wage, and hourly minimum rates for apprentices, 18-20-year-olds and those under 18 with jobs will also rise.

Flexible working arrangements

From 6 April, you’ll be able to make a request for flexible working from the first day of your employment. Previously, workers only had the legal right to do this after 26 weeks.

You also have the legal right to make a request twice in a year, up from the previous once.

Carers leave

If you care for a relative or loved one, you will have new rights to apply for leave from 6 April. Carers will be able to apply for one week of unpaid leave per year.

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