15 laws and changes coming next month – from Universal Credit to TV licence fee

The start of a tax year usually means there will be new rules and laws to adhere to – and this year is no different.

From April 2021, there are set to be changes that will impact drivers, tax payers, expecting parents and more.

Thanks to inflation, the likes of council tax and TV licence is set to rise.

There are several other law changes coming next month which will affect most Brits in some form, reports The Mirror.

Here are 15 new laws and rule changes coming in April 2021.

1. Universal Credit rise

Universal Credit is rising slightly from next month, which is good news for claimants.

For those single and aged under 25, the standard allowance will rise from £256.05 to £257.33.

Those single and aged 25 or over will see the standard allowance rise from £323.22 to £324.84.

For joint claimants both under 25, the standard allowance will rise from £401.92 to £403.93.

Claimants can also get a boost if they are caring for a severely disabled person at least 35 hours a week. The amount will rise from £162.92 to £163.73.

2. TV licence fee rise

Unfortunately, the cost of the annual BBC licence fee will rise from £157.50 to £159 from April 1.

The government announced in 2016 that the licence fee would rise with inflation for five years from April 1 2017.

The new cost will equate to 43p per day, according to the broadcaster.

3. NHS prescription change rise

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Those who have to pay for their NHS prescriptions will see the charges rise to £9.35 from April 1 in England.

This means a three-month pre-payment certificates (PPC) will cost £30.25 (an increase of 60p) and a 12-month PPC will be £108.10 (an increase of £2.20).

3. Road tax rise

VED, also known as road tax, is rising in the new tax year.

As previously, t he amount of tax you’ll pay will depend on your car’s CO2 emissions.

Those who have cars that emit zero grams per kilometre won’t pay anything.

Petrol, and most diesel-powered cars that can emit between 1g and 50g per kilometre will pay £10 for the first 12 months.

Cars that emit between 51g and 5g per kilometre will continue to pay £25 for the first year.

However, cars that emit between 76g and 150g per kilometre of CO2 will see their VED rates rise by £5 this year – to £220.

4. ‘Benefits in Kind’ rates are coming back

Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates were scrapped in March 2020 to encourage electric car usage.

These are benefits that employees receive from their company that aren’t included in salary or wages.

But as of April they will be back, meaning drivers may have to pay as much as £390 per year to use their cars.

A 1% charge, based on income rates and vehicle value, could find many drivers with zero-emission models caught out, a charge that will likely increase to 2% in 2022.

However, while this is hardly likely to be welcome news to motorists, BiK rates are still way below what they were back in 2019 when they were at 16%.

5. Statutory Sick Pay increase

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £95.85 to £96.35 per week.

The amount you need to earl to quality will remain at £120 per week.

The increases to the family-friendly rates will apply from the first Sunday in April (4th April 2021) and the increase to SSP from 6th April 2021.

6. State pension increase

Sate pension is set to rise 2.5% which will bring payments to £179.60 a week for people with full credits.

This is an increase of £4.40 on the current rate of £175.20.

7. Council tax increase

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Almost all households will see their council tax bills rise from Aprils, with two thirds of local authorities increasing rates by 5%.

It will mean an increase of between £50 and £100 for band D properties.

8. Changes to mortgages

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The introduction of a new government-backed scheme means that 95% mortgages will be back.

Lloyds, Barclays, Santander and HSBC have already signed up, which should boost house movers and first-time buyers.

9. Minimum wage rise

New minimum wage rates will rise from April 1 in England, with basic rate workers getting a 2.2% increase.

The National Living Wage rising to £8.91 an hour.

And for the first time, the government's highest rate will also include those aged 23 and over – workers who previously fell under the lower wage bracket.

This means 23 and 24-year-olds who are currently on £8.20 an hour will see their pay jump by 71p to £8.91 next month.

10. Family leave and maternity pay

The rate for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay is also increasing to £151.97 a week from next month.

Family-friendly payments usually increase from the first Sunday in April – April 4, 2021.

11. Driving lessons and theory tests resume

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Driving lessons and theory tests will resume from next month.

This is part of Step Two in the government’s roadmap for getting England out of lockdown.

Driving lessons, theory tests, motorcycle tests, LGV tests and trailer driving tests are scheduled to start again on April 12.

From April 22, car driving tests will restart subject to vaccination targets being met.

12. Tax allowance and thresholds rise

The amount you can earn before having to pay income tax, also known as personal allowance, is rising to £12,570 on April 6.

For those who are higher earners (40% tax payers) the starting point will jump to £50,271.

From April the threshold will be frozen for five years.

13. Marriage allowances

Marriage Allowances allow anyone with an income of £12,500 or less to transfer up to £1,250 of their Personal Allowance to their husband, wife or civil partner – if their income is higher.

This means they get a tax break – worth around £250 a year.

At the moment claims can be backdated up to four years, meaning you can currently claim as far back as 2017.

But this will change to 2018 at the earliest with the new tax year, meaning if you were married in that year, it’s your last chance to claim.

14. Energy price cap

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From April, around 100 million households will face a near £100 energy price hike.

The new energy price cap level will come into force, which is the maximum amount energy firms can charge households on standard variable tariffs.

On April 1, the cap will rise to £96 – taking the average bill to £1,138 a year. It will rise to £87 a year for those on prepayment meters.

15. Child benefit is rising

Child benefit will rise to £21.15 per week for the first child and £14 per week for subsequent children from April 12.

This is an increase of 10p and 5p respectively per week and means the new monthly payments will be £84.60 for an eldest or only child and £56.00 for any additional children.

The payment comes through every four weeks on a Monday or a Tuesday and the claimant will also be awarded national insurance credits which can count towards their state pension.

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