A quadruple whammy of increased costs hit the majority of Brits today.
He joked: “Someone said, ‘Joe Root, Will Smith, and me – not the best of weekends for any of us’.”
“At least I didn’t get up and slap anybody, which is good.”
Free Covid tests
Free coronavirus testing ended for millions of people in England on April 1st, with the health secretary insisting people must “learn to live with Covid”.
Sajid Javid said it was right to “focus resources” on those people who still most needed testing, including some hospital patients and those at a high risk of severe Covid.
Most people will now need to shop on the high street for paid-for tests if they want them.
At the same time, the biggest jump in domestic energy bills in living memory has come into effect as charities warn that 2.5 million more households are set to fall into “fuel stress” and supplier websites remained unresponsive to customers.
As a 54 per cent increase to Ofgem’s price cap hit bills, the Resolution Foundation think tank said the number of English households in fuel stress – those spending at least 10 per cent of their total budgets on energy bills – was set to double overnight from 2.5 to five million.
Resolution Foundation senior economist Jonathan Marshall said: “Today’s energy price cap rise will see the number of households experiencing fuel stress double to five million.
“Another increase in energy bills this autumn hastens the need for more immediate support, as well as a clear, long-term strategy for improving home insulation, ramping up renewable and nuclear electricity generation, and reforming energy markets so that families’ energy bills are less dependent on global gas prices.”
Elsewhere, the average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England for 2022/23 is up £67 or 3.5 per cent on the previous year, according to data published on Wednesday by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.
This includes adult social care and parish precepts, but does not take into account the £150 council tax rebate that will be provided to households in Bands A to D by the Government to help with rising energy prices.
The average 3.5 per cent rise for Band D properties in 2022/23 is below the 4.4 per cent rise in 2021/22 and is also the lowest year-on-year increase since 2016/17.
But it is still likely to pinch.
Especially when you factor in the rise to National Insurance, which comes into effect from April 6th.
From that date, anybody earning more than £9,880 a year will pay 1.25p more in the pound.
However, from July the point at which employees start paying will increase to £12,570.
Combining those two measures means that in the next 12 months, anyone earning less than about £34,000 will pay less NI than they did last year. Anybody earning more than that will pay more.
An employee on £20,000 a year will pay £178 less NI in 2022-23 than they did the previous year.
Someone on £50,000 will pay £197 more.
MP pay rise
And, of course, this all comes on the same day as MPs are set to receive a pay rise of £2,212.
MPs’ salaries rise to £84,144 on Friday, up by 2.7 per cent, after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) – which sets MPs’ pay – announced last month that salaries would go up for the first time in two years.
Richard Lloyd, Ipsa’s chair, said it was “right” that MPs are “paid fairly”, particularly with their work “dramatically” increasing in the past 12 months.
Kit Malthouse, a Government minister who is paid £115,824, said the cost-of-living rise will be “tricky” for his household.