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End of the tax year: April changes to Universal Credit, Help to Buy, and more

25/03/2021

While the world may have been turned upside down over the last year, one thing has remained the same: that familiar scramble as the tax year comes to an end.

As with every April, there are some big changes being made to taxes and benefits going into the new tax year. Below are some of the key changes you need to know about ahead of next month.

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Universal Credit

There will be further changes to Universal Credit from the beginning of the new tax year, which will provide a slight boost to low-income people across the UK.

Here’s a summary of the changes you can expect:

Single (under 25) – from £256.05 to £257.33
Single (25 or over) – from £323.22 to £324.84
Joint claimants (both under 25) – from £401.92 to £403.93
Joint claimants (one or both 25 or over) – from £507.37 to £509.91.
Caring for a disabled person (35 hours per week or more) – £162.92 to £163.73

The Chancellor last month confirmed in his UK budget that the £20 Universal Credit uplift will continue for another 6 months, which will take place alongside the changes listed above.

Help to Buy

Help to Buy is a Government initiative that offers people an equity loan to help them purchase a new property with a smaller deposit.

The current Help to Buy scheme:
– Offers additional money upfront to low-deposit buyers (up to 20% the value of a home)
– Allows buyers to use deposits as little as 5%
– Will end on March 31st

Although the existing scheme won’t officially close until the end of this month, it has been closed to new applicants since last year. From April, it will be replaced by a new Help to Buy Scheme.

The new Help to Buy scheme will be:
– Aimed solely at first-time buyers
– Applies only to people buying new homes
– Will replace a national limit (20% the value of a home) with limits based on regional house prices

Under the new scheme, regional prices caps mean each regional across the UK will have an upper limit for houses that qualify for the scheme, based on average house prices within the region.

TV license

There will be a £1.50 rise in the annual TV license for UK citizens from April.

Effective on the first of the month, the cost of the annual TV licence fee will rise from £157.50 to £159. According to the BBC, that rise is the equivalent of 43 pence per day.

The level of the licensing fee is set by the UK Government, and is paid by the public in exchange for non-partisan news reporting.

State pension

The State Pension scheme secures a reasonable quality of life for millions of people across the UK, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently confirmed there would be a rise in payments from April.

From the 12th of April, the DWP confirmed that pension payments will rise by 2.5 percent on their previous level.

Those on the full State Pension will therefore see their weekly payments rise from £175.20 to £179.60, an increase of £4.50 per week.

Anybody left on the basic State Pension Category A or B (the old Pension scheme that was replaced with the scheme above), will also get a pay rise. The basic State Pension will go from £134.25 to £137.65 in April, a rise of £3.40 per week.

Minimum wage

Next month will see wage rises in both the National Minimum Wage (for anybody over school leaving age) and National Living Wage (for anybody over the age of 25).

Here’s what’s changing.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage changes

Age 23 and over (NLW) – £8.72 to £8.91
Age 21 to 22 – £8.20 to £8.36
Age 18 to 20 – £6.45 to £6.56
Under 18 – £4.55 to £4.62
Apprentice – £4.15 to £4.30

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