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Seven things that will cost more this April

Items that will go up in the new financial year

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Mastercard’s survey suggests that cash transactions will become less frequent in the future

Each April signals the start of a new financial year, and for many of us this might spell good news.

We’ll all have brand new Isa allowances to take advantage of – and this year the limits on contributions are higher than ever before. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you might also be in for a small pay rise as 2010/11 kicks off.

However, April also tends to mean a whole host of price increases on everyday items – and can also be the month when tax and duty rises take effect.

Here are seven things that will cost more from April 2010.

1. Stamps

First and second class stamps will increase in price by 2p from 6 April, and are set to cost 41p and 32p respectively.
If you’re a regular letter-writer and tend to buy stamps in bulk, stock up on stamps that simply have ‘1st’ or ‘2nd’ printed on them now; they’ll still be usable after the price rises happen, but you could save a tidy sum.

2. BT phone calls

If you’re signed up to BT’s Evening & Weekend plan or Weekend plan, the time from which you’ll be able to make inclusive (‘free’) calls in the evening is going to change on 1 April. Previously, inclusive calls could be made from 6pm, but this threshold is going to shift back an hour from the start of next month.

BT says its has written to customers to let them know of these changes.

BT will also raise the price of daytime calls from 5.4p a minute to 5.9p a minute, though the new charges will not affect customers on its Basic, Light User Scheme and In-Contact Plus plans.

If you’re looking to cut your phone costs, why not investigate whether bundling your TV, telephone and broadband services together could save you money? Read the How to choose a phone bundle advice guide for more information.

3. Your TV licence

The cost of a colour TV licence will increase from £142.50 to £145.50 on 1 April, while the cost of a black and white only licence will go up by £1, from £48 to £49.

4. Fuel duty

From 1 April, the government will add 1p in fuel duty and VAT and to the cost of petrol and diesel. With prices at the pumps already very high, this is bound to cause controversy – but the Which? Ways to save on motoring guide could help to cut your car costs.

5. Council tax

Depending on where you live, it’s possible your council tax might increase from April – though some local authorities have already notified residents that their bills will be frozen at 2009 levels.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) predicted in February that most Scottish councils would not impose council tax increases, while the average council tax bill in England would rise by 1.8% this year – the smallest annual increase since the tax was introduced in 1993.

However, CIPFA’s survey also predicted that the average council tax bill in Wales would go up by 3.6%.

For advice on how to ensure you’re paying the correct amount of council tax, and tips for reducing your bill, read the Which? Council tax guide.

6. Bankruptcy fees

On April 6 the Insolvency Service will increase its bankruptcy petition fee by £90, from £360 to £450.

Most debtors also have to pay a county court fee of £150 for their bankruptcy petition to be heard, which means the total cost of going bankrupt will rise to £600 next month.

For further information on personal insolvency and coping with financial problems, read the Which? How to deal with debt advice guide.

7. Income tax for high earners

Finally, income tax for the highest earners is set to increase from 6 April when the new 50% tax rate is applied to those with annual incomes of more than £150,000.

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