Every year there are tweaks to government policy and regulations that can affect everything from bills to taxes.
These changes often seem small, but they still have an impact on your wallet. If you want to be in control of your finances, it makes sense to have a view of the year to come. We’ve pulled together some of the biggest incoming changes to help you plan your money more effectively.
Commuter costs increase
If you’re a regular train-goer, then this one may have hit your wallet already. The cost of travelling by train has gone up by a hefty 2.7% across the country. This is a large, inflation-busting increase which will be felt sorely by those commuters running late for work when their trains are delayed.
Better broadband bills
2019 was a great year for consumer rights, and we’re glad to see that continuing into 2020. This year, regulators are set to crack down on high internet costs. At the moment, providers will often lure you in with a tempting price for your contract period, before hiking the price right up. It’s now going to become mandatory for providers to warn you if you’re out of contract so that you can start shopping around for a better deal. There will also be caps put on the rates that you pay. This is currently planed for March.
From April, there are going to be changes to the way that unauthorised overdrafts work, as banks will no longer be allowed to charge more for these than for their arranged ones. Currently, unplanned overdrafts can be a huge source of financial strain for people who are already struggling, and these changes are planned to address the problem. More generally, banks are being told to make their fees a lot clearer.
Student loan reshuffle
Those of you paying back student debt should also see your loan repayments fall in April, as the payment threshold will go up for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 loans. For Plan 1, you won’t have to pay anything on the first £19,390 of your annual income (up from £18,935). For Plan 2 – students who started their course after 2011 – the rise is from £25,725 to £26,575.
Pensions are high on the government’s radar, which means that we can expect to see better regulation of pensions and a crackdown on companies who do not fund their pensions schemes properly. Most exciting to us, though, is the incoming pensions dashboard. This is planned to be a place for you to see all of your pension schemes online in one place, making it ideal for those job-hoppers who may have enrolled in several schemes over the years.
The idea is that better access will lead to better understanding, with people taking more of an active role in their pension planning. At the moment we’re still waiting for a planned launch date, but this is something we’ll be following closely throughout the year.
Not every change is positive, but taken together these look like a great set of opportunities to claim back a little of your hard-earned money over the coming year. We will continue to report on key changes as they happen so that you can stay on top of the news.