ouseholds across Britain are set to be hit with a triple bills blow within days as the cost of living squeeze begins to “bite hard”.
Families will see a rise in their council tax and energy bills from April 1, while workers will also be struck with an increase in National Insurance contributions next week.
At the same time families are being hit with food and petrol price rises and inflation is at the highest it has been for 30 years.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealed 80 per cent of Britons have seen a hike in their cost of living.
The UK economy did grow at a faster pace than expected in the final three months of 2021, despite the spread of Omicron, but household savings were at their lowest since the start of the pandemic, according to the ONS.
The Bank of England and Office for Budget Responsibility have also forecast a hit to growth this year and next as the Ukraine crisis heightens and cost-of-living intensifies, with households and businesses expected to rein in spending as prices soar.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, told The Standard: “People have been talking about the cost-of-living squeeze for a long time.
“But it’s really going to start biting hard from the start of April as energy and tax bills rise.”
Hundreds of thousands of Londoners will see their council tax bills increase to more than £2,000 for the first from this month.
The payment is set to go up by more than £70 for average households in half of London boroughs.
It comes as families will see the biggest rise in energy costs in living memory from Friday when bills increase by almost £700 to nearly £2,000 a year.
Householders have been urged to submit meter readings for gas and electricity to their supplier on Thursday to show exactly how much energy they have used ahead of regulator Ofgem increasing the price cap by 54 per cent.
This prevents companies from estimating usage and potentially charging for energy used before April 1 at the higher rate.
From April 6 workers will also pay 1.25 per cent more in National Insurance contributions.
To offset the effects of the tax rise, which critics have claimed would disproportionately impact people on lower incomes, the Chancellor increased the tax’s payment threshold by £3,000 from July 2022.
It aligns the income tax and NI thresholds in a tax cut worth over £6 billion, according to the Treasury.
Rishi Sunak has also introduced a £150 payment for households in council tax bands A to D, which comes into force tomorrow.
Households will also receive a rebate on their energy bills which will need to be repaid at a later date.
In his Spring Statement last week, Mr Sunak announced a desire for a 1p cut to the basic rate of income tax by 2024 and a 5p cut to fuel duty.
Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan admitted the country was facing a “really difficult time”.
She told LBC: “We are in a really difficult time and the Chancellor has set out a number of ways to support [households]. A £9.1 billion energy package and the highest cut ever on taxes on fuel.”
Keir Starmer today called on voters to “send a message” to the Conservative party over the cost of living crisis.
The Labour leader, who is launching the party’s local election campaign in Bury, said research shows families are £2,620 worse off because of rising bills and inflation.
He is expected to say: “You know the reality – prices are going through the roof, and wages are going through the floor.
“The biggest drop in living standards since the Fifties. Taxes the highest in 70 years.
“Working families feel more insecure than ever. While prices are rising in the supermarkets, at the petrol pumps and in our electricity bills, the Government has chosen to put up National Insurance at exactly the wrong time.”