Key dates for your money in 2024
2023 was a difficult year for millions up and down the country. We saw unprecedented demand for our free debt help, with the cost-of-living crisis wreaking havoc on household finances following sustained interest rate rises, stubbornly high inflation figures and the withdrawal of energy support.
The last quarter of the year saw inflation fall further than expected to 6.7% and, with mortgage companies entering the new year on a war footing by slashing prices across a a range of fixed rate deals, what does 2024 have in stall for your wallet?
There are a number of key dates that will affect your spending power and how much is in your wallet this year, including changes to energy, council tax and TV licence bills, as well as pay rises, benefit and pension payment uplifts, and new financial support for childcare. Some things aren’t changing but it’s worth having them on your radar as you enter the new year.
We’ve rounded them all up here:
1 January - Energy rises
Ofgem’s energy price cap rose on 1 January from £1,834 to £1,928, which means you’ll now be paying more for the gas and electricity you use. The increase will see households pay an extra £94 a year. If you’re already struggling with energy bills or are in debt to your provider, find out what support is available here.
6 January – National insurance
Around 27 million employed workers will see their national insurance payments fall from 12% to 10% from 6 January, meaning a basic rate taxpayer will be £304 better off, while those paying higher rate will save £647.
31 January – Self assessment deadline
The deadline for anyone wo needs to file a tax return online or pay tax owned is 31 January. If you’re self-employed or a landlord, you’ll also have to make your first payment on account – an advanced payment towards your next tax bill which is usually half of your previous year’s tax bill.
5 March – Rail price increases
Commuters will pay more for travel from 5 March. Price rises this year haven’t been calculated the usual way inline with July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) because it was so high at 9%. The Department for Travel has instead set a cap of 4.9% for increases to most fares, season tickets, some off-peak return tickets, and flexible tickets for travel around major cities. In London, tube and bus fares will also increase by an average of 5.9% across the Transport for London (TfL) network.
6 March – Budget day
The spring budget will set out the state of the economy and the government’s tax and spending plans. The last update was in November’s autumn statement which brought an array of measures including national insurance cuts and increases to benefits and local housing allowance rate, as well as a commitment to triple lock pension rises.
More tax cuts are expected in the spring budget ahead of a general election later in the year.
23 March – Fuel duty
In March 2022, the government cut fuel duty for petrol and diesel by 5p per litre for 12 months. This cut ends on 23 March which means drivers will be paying more to fill up.
There’s lots of changes going on in April
1 April - National living wage
The National Living Wage will increase to £11.44 per hour for workers over 21. The minimum wage is currently set at £10.42 per hour for workers over 23 and £10.18 per hour for workers aged 21-22. According to the government, the increase will mean a £1,800 pay boost to an average full-time worker.
1 April - Childcare
Working parents will get 15 hours free for children under two from 1 April. This is part of the government’s promise of 30 free hours from September 2025 for all children from nine months old until they start school in a move designed to get primary care givers back into work.
1 April TV licence rises
The annual cost of a standard colour TV licence will rise to £169.50 – an increase of £10.50 on the current price of £159. There hasn’t been a price increase in the TV licence since April 2021 when it was frozen to ease cost-of-living pressures.
1 April - Water bill rises
The average water bill in the UK in 2003 was around £448 a year, equating to about £37.30 a month. The amount water bills will rise in 2024 has yet to be announced but they’re expected to be the biggest hikes in almost 20 years. Policy in Practice believes water companies are proposing to increase water charges by 40% by 2025, which would take the annual household water bill to around £680.
1 April - Energy price cap changes
In better news, Ofgem’s price cap for energy is expected to fall in April.
1 April - Fuel duty rises
Fuel duty is also expected to rise inline with RPI but the government could choose to freeze this to help out struggling motorists.
1 April - Council tax rises
Council tax charges are set to rise in 2024 with the exact amount expected to be announced by local authorities in February. A number of local authorities have already warned residents they will have to increase council tax bills by the maximum allowed in 2004 because of the financial difficulties they face.
1 April - Air passenger duty increases
Air passenger duty is charged to each passenger flying from UK airports to domestic and international destinations. Air passenger duty rises in line with RPI and the rate you pay will depend on the class of the flight and the distance you’re travelling. You’ll pay between £6.50 and £13 on all domestic flights and between £13 and £91 for the cheapest cabins on international jaunts.
6 April - National insurance savings
Self-employed people with profits above £12,570 will no longer be required to pay Class 2 NICs - equating to a £186 a year saving on average. They will also be able to still receive access to contributory benefits including the state pension. Class 4 NICs will also be cut by 1% to 8%.
8 April - State pension rises
Pensioners will see their state pension rise by 8.5% inline with the triple lock, which the government remained faithful to in the autumn budget. Those over 66 will see their payments rise from £203.85 to £221.20 a week. Meanwhile those who reached state pension age before 2016 will see their pension rise to £169.50.
8 April – Benefit rises
Anyone receiving working age benefits will see their benefits increase in line with September’s inflation figure of 68.7%. This will mean someone under 25 claiming universal credit will see their payments increase from £292.11 to £311.68. Payments to claimants over 25 will rise to £393.45.
1 July - Energy bill changes
Ofgem will update its energy price cap on 1 July. Despite price rises in January experts are predicting that energy costs will fall throughout 2024 so we’re expected another cut in July.
31 July – Payment on account
Those who are self-employed need to made advance payment towards their tax bill by 31 July. If HMRC are expecting a payment by this date and you fail to make it, you’ll be charged late payment interest.
1 August – Alcohol duty changes
Alcohol duty on drinks such as beer, cider, wine, and spirits were frozen until 1 August by the chancellor in the autumn budget. It remains to be seen if prices will increase after August.
1 September – Childcare changes
September marks phase two in the roll out of additional childcare support, with eligible children between nine months and two years getting 15 hours of free childcare per week.
1 October – Energy bills changes
Another Ofgem price cap will be announced which will affect how much households will pay for energy during the winter ahead.
31 October – Self assessment deadline
If you’re submitted a paper tax return to HRMC, this must be filed by 31 October. Sending a paper return after this date could mean you incur a penalty – even if you have no tax to pay.
17 December – Latest day for Election
The last possible day to call a general election is 17 December. The election would then take place on 28 January 2025.
31 December – Bus fare rises
The £2 cap on single bus journeys in England, which saved people 30% on average, is expected to come to an end and the price of journeys will begin to rise.
Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.
24 Jan 2024
Get top tips on how to avoid being scammed.
24 Jan 2024
The government is to outlaw a number of unfair trading practices to protect your money. Find out what the changes mean for you
19 Jan 2024
As UK banks forecast a sharp increase in Brits defaulting on repayments, we offer advice on what to do if you can't cover all your debts.
16 Jan 2024
With Brits bracing themselves for the toughest January yet, get tips on making it through a financial rough patch.