May will see even more financial changes and deadlines across the country – from universal credit to interest rates.
After a tough April that saw sharp increases in energy bills and the cost of living crisis deepening, there are more changes to come that people need to be aware of. Interest rates are expected to rise and other bills are expected to change, reports The mirror.
Here we take a look at what you need to know and how the changes will affect you.
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Universal Credit Changes
A huge overhaul of the benefit plan is set to take place this month. Starting May 9, up to 2.6 million people with old-style legacy benefits are expected to start transferring to Universal Credit. The “managed migration” process to Universal Credit had been halted due to Covid. The government wants everyone transferred by the end of 2024.
People will start receiving a “migration notice” in the coming months, giving them three months to apply for Universal Credit or have their benefits terminated. Only around 500 people will be transferred to Universal Credit initially, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will pick up the pace after a few months.
The persons concerned are social recipients who receive the following payments:
- Work Tax Credit
- Child tax credit
- Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income support
- Employment and Income Support Benefit
- Housing allowance
If you’re claiming the benefits above and want to switch to Universal Credit right away, you can apply to transfer now – but do your research first. Officials say 55% will be better off on Universal Credit, but some will be worse off in the long run – and you can’t go back to old-fashioned benefits once you’re on Universal Credit.
Interest rates are expected to rise
On Thursday, May 5, interest rates are expected to rise from 0.75% to 1%, which would be the highest level in 13 years. The Bank of England (BoE) is struggling to rein in rising inflation, which hit a new 30-year high of 7% in March and is expected to rise to 8% later this year.
The base rate is what the BoE charges other banks and lenders – this then affects what you are charged if you borrow money and how much interest you get back on your savings. For those with a trailing mortgage, this will affect your rate, which will increase as these move up from the base rate. If you have a fixed rate mortgage, your rates will not change if interest rates are increased.
Those with a standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage may see rates increase, as it will be up to your lender to decide whether or not to pass on the increase. For savers, interest rate hikes are generally good news because it means you could see a higher return on your money if you have a variable rate account.
However, there is no guarantee that banks and lenders will keep up with any rise – and some may take time to announce any changes.
Municipal tax refunds will arrive if they haven’t already
Some people across the country will have already received their council tax refund. Others will see the money drop in May and some households will have to wait months for the £150 to hit their account, with councils officially having until September 30 to issue the money.
Yorkshire Live has checked with all local authorities and highlighted where discounts have not yet started to be processed. Some councils expect payments to start in May. Those who pay their residence tax by direct debit will receive the payments first, because the municipalities already have their details on the system.
Council tax rebate will apply to homes in tax brackets A, B, C or D in England and Wales – around 80% of properties – but not to those living in the taxation E, F, G and H (or I so, in Wales). Scottish residents will also be eligible for a £150 reduction if they are in bands A to D – but are also eligible if they are currently in receipt of a council tax reduction.
The price of heaven is rising
Sky landline customers have seen the cost of a call with Sky Talk on a home phone increase by 10% since the start of May. This means you now pay 22p per minute, up from 20p, to talk to family and friends.
This applies to Pay As You Talk customers making outbound calls to mobile and home phone numbers. International calls may be charged at different rates, depending on your tariff.
If you are unhappy with the price increases, you may consider finding a cheaper deal by comparing prices online via Uswitch.com. Those who are out of contract can leave free of charge, but those bound by an agreement may have to pay an exit fee to leave. You can also consider haggling with Sky if you don’t want to leave but want to lower your monthly bill.
Sky will also bring back EU roaming charges from May 3. It will cost £2 a day for holidaymakers using mobile data, making calls and texting outside the UK.
Voxi introduces roaming charges in the EU
Voxi – a sub-brand of Vodafone – will introduce mobile roaming charges for new and existing customers holidaying in Europe from May 27. Customers will need to buy a European roaming pass to make calls, send texts and use data in 49 European countries. and destinations.
Roaming passes cost:
- £2 for a day pass
- £4 for a two-day pass
- £8 for an eight-day pass
- £15 for a 15 day pass
Roaming passes will also include unlimited texting and minutes, even if that’s not what your UK Sim usually offers.
Tesco Clubcard deadline
Tesco shoppers have just weeks left to redeem £17million of unspent Clubcard vouchers before they expire in May. The supermarket said the vouchers were issued in May 2020 and must be used by May 31, 2022.
Tesco Clubcard vouchers are issued quarterly, in February, May, August and November, and are valid for two years.
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