The 'April Fools' might be those who benefit the least from a cluster of new UK laws. Find out whether you gain or lose as they take full effect from the start of the new tax year.
NEW LAWS: The UK Government introduced a handful of significant law changes in April.
There has been an abundance of press attention on the new legislation that might save you some money.
But what about the new rulings that will impact your household income and outgoings the most?
From April, new legislation is likely to affect how you budget your family finances. It could influence your chosen career or the car model that you decide to buy next.
The government swept in new law changes to tax and some employment laws. The benefits and welfare system did not go unscathed either.
The National Minimum Wage rates increased by 30 pence an hour for those 25 or over. But, on the flip side, the price of road tax and medical prescriptions also went up.
It becomes easier for school leavers to secure an apprenticeship. Anyone facing redundancy gets new benefits of protections under statutory redundancy pay increases.
The list of 9 new law changes shows how they might benefit millions of people in their day-to-day lives. It could certainly change the way you pay for childcare and it might even change the way you drive.
The government presented a large pay boost from April for those earning the lowest wage. The hourly rate went up to £7.83 for workers aged 25 or older. That is a noteworthy rates increase compared to the previous year.
That means around 2 million workers got around a 4% pay rise in the United Kingdom. The minimum wages rise also goes up for those aged 18-20 to £5.90 an hour and peaks at £7.38 for 21-24 year olds.
It gets even better:
The good news for low earners got even better when the Government announced its plans for the next few years. They aim to introduce £9 an hour as the National Minimum Wage for over 25s by the year 2020.
Research suggests most parents pay out over £200 a week for full-time childcare. The cost still soars over £100 per week for hiring a part-time child care worker.
April 28th brings in the start of a new Tax-Free Childcare initiative for working families.
It will eventually replace the Childcare Voucher Scheme as it rolls out over the coming months.
The changed system sees the government contributing 20 pence for every 80 pence spent by parents on childcare fees.
You could equate that to 20% tax that some people pay on their earnings. That is why they call it the Tax-free Childcare Scheme.
UK Government announced it will cut the cost of child care for working families by up to £2,000 per child each year. The amount increases up to £4,000 for parents with disabled children.
Want to know the best part?
Parents of 3 and 4 year olds can apply for 30 hours of free child care from September in England. These welfare benefits for children could be worth £5,000 per child to some families.
The Childcare Tax-free Scheme rolled out to more parents late in 2017. The most benefit is likely to be for those with children under the age of 12 (or under 17 with disabilities).
Families need to work out the best deal for their situation. But, you can apply if you are a working parent with any children less than 2 years old.
Prescription charges increase from the 1st of April. Each medicine or appliance dispensed sees a rise of 20 pence which means it will now cost £8.80.
The current exemptions remain in place for those with specific long term conditions. It includes epilepsy, cancer, and diabetes. The same exemptions also apply to pregnant women, new mothers, and children under 16.
The April price rise to NHS prescriptions does not affect anyone on a low income or seniors over 60 years old.
Note: You can get a 3 or 12 month NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate online. That could save you money if you buy a lot of prescribed medicines.
The VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) rules for taxing first registered cars changed in April 2017.
New cars bought on or after April the 1st must be zero-emission to get road tax exemption.
In most cases zero-emission means 100% electric cars for road tax bands and rates. So, that is not good news for anyone planning to buy a low-emission car or a diesel-powered vehicle.
Other vehicles bought from new will see road tax charges in a tiered first-year rate. Because this gets based on its CO2 emissions it could prove to be a lot more expensive for some vehicles.
So, here's how it works:
CO2 emissions alone had been determining how much road tax you pay. No Vehicle Excise Duty was due on cars emitting less than 100 g/km of carbon.
But, everything changed from April 2017. Carbon emissions will only rule a part of road tax rates in the first year of vehicle registration.
The new VED rates will see a fixed fee of £140 each year after that. There will also be an extra £310 charged on models which have a published price more than 40,000 from new.
Note: This only applies to new cars bought on or after 1st April 2017.
There will be extra benefits for those who qualify for various statutory payments. Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increase from 2nd April 2017.
There are new upper limits on statutory redundancy payments from the 6th of April 2017. Those who qualify will receive an increase in their redundancy pay. As a rule, weekly payments are subject to an upper threshold which are now £508.
Note: The highest award statutory redundancy pay also increases from £14,670 to an upper limit of £15,240.
The government aims to reduce the country's reliance on migrant workers. That is why they are introducing a new immigration skills charge due to take full effect from the 6th of April 2017.
Sponsoring migrant workers in skilled roles will see a two-tier levy for employers. Large businesses can expect a charge of £1,000 per employee each year. Whereas, smaller organisations and charities will get charged the reduced rate of £364.
The government claims to use the new immigration skills charge to fund apprenticeships. They expect to raise £3 billion a year from large organisations with a wage bill of over £3 million a year. That is how they plan to exclude harming smaller companies.
This extra money will go to businesses to offer apprenticeships and on-the-job training. That means anyone over 16 looking to learn a trade and get paid might excel this year.
There is a concerted effort to make financial advice more affordable. The government is encouraging consumers to get proper advice when planning for retirement.
People will get a new annual allowance from 6th April 2017. They can use it for employer-funded pension advice. It is a £500 allowance free of tax and NI. The price for any advice above that level would be subject to tax and NIC as a benefit in kind.
Combining this with the Pensions Advice Allowance could give you access to £1,000 in advice fees. The Pensions Advice Allowance also offers individuals up to £500 worth of advice. The money is tax free and taken from their pension pot tax.
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Health lobbies and anti-smoking groups have praised other law changes coming into force. Retailers must phase out any tobacco products with branded packing. They must also discontinue selling small size packets of tobacco and cigarettes.
Brand packaging must be identical and display the standard drab green template. The new laws ban packets of 10 cigarettes and tobacco pouches weighing less than 30 grams.
How 9 New Law Changes Might Benefit You from April in the United Kingdom