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These bills are going up – what you can do to cover the costs

From Council Tax to getting a filling, you’ll now have to pay more to cover these bills.

The new financial year starts on Thursday, and all week we’ll be sharing some of the big changes that’ll impact you and your wallet. But some changes have already started, with a host of bills increasing on 1 April.

Here’s a rundown on the increases, a few ways you might be able to reduce what you pay, and some tips to help you cover the costs. Plus the one bill that’s going down for some.

Council Tax

Pretty much all Council Tax bills have gone up, with the average increase 4% in England. The average is less in Scotland and Wales at around 3%.

If you live alone you could cut your bill by 25%, while discounts are available if you or someone you live with has a disability or is on a low income. Households where everyone is a full-time student don’t pay Council Tax at all.

TV Licence

For the first time since 2010, the TV Licence Fee has increased – but only by £1.50 a year.

You’ll need one even if you only watch on-demand on iPlayer, though If you’re over 75 you can get a free TV Licence.

Water bills

Water bills are up by an average of 2%, making the bill around £395.

You might be able to reduce how much you pay by getting a water meter installed, but bear in mind it could end up costing you more.

Prescriptions & dental charges

In England, you’ll now pay £8.60 for an NHS prescription, up by 20p. They’re still free in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, if you get frequent prescriptions you can buy a pre-payment certificate, and the price has been frozen at £29.10 for three months or £104 for a year.

Also, anyone over 60 years old, under 16 years old, students, pregnant mothers or people claiming certain benefits you can get free prescriptions.

It’ll cost you more to go to the dentist in England. Check-ups are 90p more at £20.60, while the price of fillings and other procedures also increasing.

Car Tax

If you’re planning on buying a new car, Vehicle Excise Duty changed dramatically on 1 April – but this won’t affect anyone with an existing vehicle.

Now first year rates are based on the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicles, while ongoing annual charges will be based on the type of fuel used. If your new car has a list price of more than £40,000, you’ll also face an additional £310 charge each year.

Going down: Prepayment energy bills

If you pay for your energy by prepayment meter, a new cap will limit how much you pay each month. It’s estimated this will save around £80 a year. However, it’ll still be cheaper by around £220 to move to a standard meter if you can.

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