Sarah Coles of Hargreaves Lansdown, the investment firm, said: “Unfortunately because the houses all had to be valued at the same time there may have been an element of cost cutting so some valuations were not not very accurate. You can challenge your rating. Challenges can be declined or can mean the rating is raised instead of lowered – so do a little homework before you try.”
National insurance and other taxes on the rise
April also marked the arrival of a series of punitive tax changes.
The 1.25 percentage point hike in National Insurance will take effect on April 6, despite widespread calls for it to be scrapped in the face of soaring living costs. The threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance contributions will rise from £9,568 to £9,880 in April, before rising to £12,570 in July.
The Chancellor has frozen income tax thresholds which will put over a million people in the higher tax bracket by 2026. Retaining the £12,300 tax relief on capital gains will see investors pay £65million more over the next five years, while a freeze on inheritance protections will cost families almost £1billion.
The cost of weekly groceries is rising, with nine in 10 people reporting a higher bill at checkout, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Grocery price inflation hit 5.2% this month, hitting its highest level since April 2012, according to data from Kantar, a data consultancy.
Supermarkets are changing their pricing strategies in response to rising costs, moving away from selling goods at prices ’rounded up in pounds’. The percentage of packs sold at £1, £2 or £3 has dropped significantly in recent weeks, he said.
A rapid rise in clothing prices was a major contributor to last month’s high inflation rate across the country, official figures showed.
Clothing and footwear prices rose 8.8% in the year to February 2022, reaching their highest level since records began in 1988.
Hotels and restaurants
Households can also expect to pay more when eating out now, as a tax break that pubs and restaurants have enjoyed throughout the pandemic is coming to an end.
The VAT rate applied to food, accommodation and attractions was reduced to 5% in July 2020 before rising to 12.5% in October last year. It returned to the usual 20% from April 1, meaning businesses, which are grappling with the same energy and fuel price hikes as households, will have to pass the higher costs onto customers. .
However, restaurant meals and hotel stays are among the few areas where costs have not risen as high so far. Price changes in restaurants and hotels rose just 0.04 percentage points in the year to February. But those numbers may not tell the whole story, as many hotels and restaurants were closed a year ago during the lockdowns.
Gasoline and diesel
Gasoline retailers have been accused of profiting from the cost of living crisis by boosting their profit margins, even when the wholesale price of oil has fallen.
Rishi Sunak has been forced to cut fuel taxes by 5 cents per litre, after the price of petrol rose 8%, with diesel prices rising 12% in the fortnight to March 16 . During the same period, the price of oil fell by 11%.
Motorists can save an average of £3.30 on the cost of filling their tank, following Rishi Sunak’s decision to cut fuel duty by 5p per litre, but motoring group RAC called the reduction ” drop in the ocean”.