6 price hikes coming in April – and what you can do about it

Rising prices are never good news, but there are things you can do to dodge the price hikes for you and your family

mother sitting at a table looking at bills while holding her baby
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This month has been dubbed 'Awful April', given the wave of price hikes coming into force. From water bills to broadband tariffs, there are lots of prices are going up this month. With inflation still high, this year's increases will be especially painful for families who are already struggling with rising prices. But if you're worried about how much your energy bills will cost or whether your council tax is going up, you might be able to cut costs elsewhere to help cushion the blow. 

Personal finance expert Andrew Hagger from Moneycomms says: “April is going to be a miserable month for most families who are facing a sudden range of extra costs in their household budgets - council tax, broadband, telephone, water bills, mobile phone and for some mortgages too will all become more expensive during this month.

“It's worth trying to offset some of these costs by looking at alternative deals for broadband, mobile and phone packages if you're not currently tied into a fixed deal.

“One positive is that we're heading into Spring/Summer so hopefully those energy bills will start to fall, and it sounds as if costs could well be cut further later in the year - we can but hope!”

1. Mobile phones 

All the big mobile networks are hiking their prices from April, with most going up by more than inflation. Mobile firms say prices need to rise as the cost of running mobile networks has gone up due to high energy costs.

As an example, O2 is upping prices by up to 17.3%. This is January's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure (published in February) + 3.9 percentage points. This increase is written into many O2 contracts. 

Virgin Mobile is upping prices by up to 17.3%, Vodafone 14.4%, and Three by up to 13.4%.

What can you do about it?

  • Switch providers (using a price comparison site) or haggle
  • Keep your existing handset and go SIM-only instead of upgrading
  • Do you really need that much data or free minutes?
  • Look for family SIM deals

If you’re out of contract with your mobile provider then you’re free to switch to another network which could be much cheaper. It’s easy to take your number with you. If you're happy with the phone you have, you could also try switching to a SIM-only deal - these are considerably cheaper than deals that include the cost of the phone. 

You could also try opting for a deal that works for you as a family. Some networks offer family SIM deals which either offer a discount or let you share a data allowance between you all. 

Alternatively, you could try haggling with your provider to get a better deal. Use a price comparison site, like Go.Compare, to get a sense of what you would pay if you moved to a different provider. That can be a really good bargaining chip. You should also check your usage report on your phone - you may be paying for data or minutes that you don't need. 

How I haggled with O2

I’ve had an O2 pay monthly SIM-only deal for years and have been paying £17.95 a month for 5GB of data and unlimited calls and texts each month. O2 wanted to up my tariff to £21.05 a month. But I called them and haggled, eventually agreeing a price of £9 a month for 4GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. This will save me £144.60 a year.

2. Broadband and TV 

Broadband prices are going up this month too – with firms again blaming soaring running costs. Virgin Media is putting up prices by 13.8% on average, BT and EE 14.4% and Sky an average of 8.1%.

If you bundle your broadband with TV channels and home phone, you might be able to save money by ditching any services you don’t use. 

woman working from home on a laptop and consulting her diary

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What can you do about it?

  • Check when your contract ends
  • Shop around
  • Be prepared to haggle
  • Go through to cancellations - you'll likely be offered much better deals if you are adamant about leaving

Telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, Catherine Hiley, says: “The first step in getting a better deal for your mobile or broadband is to find out whether you are out of contract or mid-contract. You can do this by reviewing your account information and noting the length of agreement you originally signed-up for. 

“With inflation-linked price increases about to hit, there couldn’t be a better time to check. We estimate as many as 11 million broadband customers may be out of contract, missing out on potential savings of £162.

Stuart Jones, spokesperson at Go.Compare, says: “Our advice is always to compare your options before speaking to your provider, as this will give you a better idea of your options – which you can then try to get your current provider to match, if you wish to stay. 

“Remember, too, that the overall cost of your package isn’t the only aspect you can haggle on. They may also be willing to budge on other aspects of your deal, such as the broadband speed, and including optional extras, like an allowance for landline calls, or access to a TV streaming service.”

3. Energy bills 

Although the £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee has been extended until June, families will still be paying more for their energy from now on. This is because the £400 energy rebate has come to an end. Since October 2022, this scheme has given families £66 or £67 discount on their energy bill each month.

The last payments under the scheme were made in March so bills will now start to rise. The good news is, summer is coming so we won’t need our heating on so much, if at all. 

What can you do about it?

  • Try to use less energy (this should be easier as it gets warmer and you can have the heating on less)
  • Speak to your supplier if you are struggling to pay your bills - you may qualify for extra help.

Couple looking at energy bills at home while daughter plays on sofa

(Image credit: Future/Getty Images)

4. Water bills 

Water bills will go up by an average of 7.5% this month. Unlike other bill hikes, this is less than inflation. But it will still add about £31 to your annual bill, with the exact amount depending on where you live and how you pay for your water.

What can you do about it?

  • See if you can save by getting a water meter fitted
  • If you have a water meter, try to use less water

If you have a water meter, you can lower your bill by encouraging everyone in your family to use less water. 

James Longley, managing director at Utility Bidder, says: “We can all make simple changes to our daily lives which will help to lower the amount of water we are using. From taking shorter showers to reducing the number of times you flush the toilet, these steps can have a big impact on the amount of water you’re using, which in turn, will help to reduce your bill.” 

5. Council tax 

Most local authorities in England are raising council tax bills by 5% for the 2023/24 financial year – but some have been given special permission to raise rates even higher. For example, Croydon is raising bills by 15%. Local authorities say they need to increase council tax bills to plug funding gaps.

If you’re concerned about council tax rises, check whether you are eligible for a council tax reduction or council tax support. For example, if you’re a single parent and your kids are under 18 or at university you can claim the 25% single person discount.

Alternatively, your family may qualify for a council tax reduction if you’re on a low income or claim benefits such as Universal Credit. For some families, the reduction may be 100% – so you’ll pay no council tax at all. 

Even if you don't qualify for a discount or reduction, if you pay your council tax in 10 instalments each year, you can lower how much you pay each month by paying your bill over 12 months instead. You should find information on how to do this on your local council's website. 

6. Prescriptions 

The price of prescriptions are going up too. As of 1 April, the price of a single NHS prescription costs £9.65, up from £9.35 previously. But there are a few ways to beat this price hike.

  • Check to see if you, or others in your family, qualify for free prescriptions
  • Consider a pre-payment certificate 

Remember children under 16 (or 18 if in full-time education) qualify for free prescriptions, as do family members over 60 and women who are pregnant or have given birth in the past year.

If you need a lot of prescriptions, you can save money with a NHS prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) which covers all your prescriptions for a set time period. A three-month certificate costs £31.25, and a 12-month certificate £111.60.

If you’re on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you can now get a new PPC specifically for HRT. This will give you access to a year’s worth of menopause prescription items for the cost of two single prescription charges (currently £19.30).

Emma Lunn
Personal finance expert

Emma Lunn is a multi-award-winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. With more than 18 years of experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including all aspects of energy - from the energy price cap to prepayment meter tricks, as well as mortgages, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, pensions and investments. Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and the Mirror.