Money Wellness
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calendar icon19 Sep 2023

Coming up – six things that may affect your finances this autumn

There are a few things happening in the coming weeks that may affect your finances for better and worse. Here's what to expect:

Bank of England’s interest rate announcement

The Bank of England is expected to increase interest rates for the 15th time in a row on Thursday (21 September).

Experts are predicting the base rate will go up from 5.25% to 5.5%.

If rising interest rates have resulted in the cost of your mortgage going up and you're struggling to pay, speak to your lender to see how they can help. You can find more information in our guide on what you should do if you fall behind with your mortgage payments.

If you’re renting and your landlord is trying to pass on rising costs to you, it’s important to know your rights to avoid being exploited. In most circumstances, your landlord can only increase your rent once a year by a reasonable amount. You can find more information on your rights and what to do if you’re struggling to pay on the government website.

There are also ideas on how to make savings in other areas and information on the support that’s available if money worries are affecting your mental health in our blog on how to manage rising rents and mortgage interest rates.

Second cost-of-living payment

If you're eligible, you can expect to receive the next £300 cost-of-living payment between 31 October and 19 November.

There are three cost-of-living payments available for 8 million people on means-tested benefits in the 2023-24 financial year. The first payment of £301 was handed out in Spring.

The upcoming £300 autumn payment will be the second pay-out and the third instalment of £299 is set for Spring 2024.

To be eligible, you must be claiming at least one of the following benefits:

  • pension credit
  • universal credit
  • working tax credit
  • child tax credit
  • income support
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • income-based jobseeker's allowance

You don’t need to apply. The money will be paid directly into your bank account. You can report missed payments online.

Fall in the energy price cap

The energy price cap falls on 1 October. The price cap limits the amount energy suppliers can charge per unit of energy.

At the moment, it means a typical yearly household bill is £2,074.

From 1 October, this will fall to £1,923.

If you’re on a prepayment meter, the cap will be £1,949. It’ll be £2,052 if you’re on a standard credit tariff. And for Economy 7 (electricity-only Direct Debit), it’ll be £1,298.

The term ‘cap’ can be misleading. It’s possible to pay more than this, as it’s not a cap on your overall bill just on a unit of energy. This means the more you use, the more you’ll pay.

To make sure you benefit fully from the drop in price, make sure you submit meter readings on 1 October if you're not on a smart meter.

Check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount

From October, you’ll be able to check if you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount. This scheme offers a one-off discount on electricity bills.

Discounts are applied automatically.

You should qualify in England and Wales if you:

  • get the guarantee credit element of pension credit; or
  • you’re on a low income and have high energy costs

In Scotland, you should qualify if you:

  • get the guarantee credit element of pension credit; or
  • you’re on a low income and meet your energy company’s criteria for the scheme

The cost of stamps goes up

From 2 October, a first-class stamp will go up from £1.10 to £1.25 for a standard letter.

So, if you’re planning to send out a lot of Christmas cards, it might be a good idea to stock up now.

Bus fare cap to increase

From 1 November, the £2 bus fare cap that is in place across much of the country is set to increase to £2.50.

Find a list of companies and bus routes included in the fare cap scheme.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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