Guide to household bills in the UK

Guide to household bills in the UK

The one thing you will already know about the British weather is that it’s variable and that’s it’s a popular topic of conversation.

You won’t find Canadian levels of coldness but it can get quite chilly in winter, and you’re extremely unlikely to find Australian levels of heat in the summer.

So, you probably won’t need air conditioning, but you will need adequate heating during the colder months. Here are some of the bills you need to understand (not just energy bills) when you live in the UK.

Utility bills

Homes usually have a mix of electricity and gas for heating and appliances, though some may be purely electricity based. When looking for a provider search on comparison sites to find the best tariffs. You could find a fixed rate for a given period or go for a variable rate tariff that will raise or lower your costs if the market prices change. Unfortunately, they usually change upwards so be aware of that.

You’re charged by the Kilowatt-hour, plus a daily standing charge. For a small house with one or two bedrooms you could pay between £700 and £800 a year depending on your usage and for a three-bed house somewhere over £1000 a year. If your home is well insulated, you could cut your costs.

Water bills can be met by paying an annual charge or a monthly direct debit and if you’ve overpaid the bill is adjusted for the next year. If there is no water meter it is best to ask for one to be installed, especially if you don’t use a lot of water because you could save yourself hundreds of pounds. For a family, a meter still makes sense because you will be more careful about consumption and teach your kids the benefits of using water sparingly.

Council tax

Annual costs depend on which local authority area you live in and the Band of your property. In Southwark in London for example, a Band A property would have a charge of £837.88 a year at present with the top Band H paying over £2500. Rates vary throughout the country, so it’s worth checking before you rent or buy.

TV licence

If you watch terrestrial television, even via a satellite or cable, you’ll need a licence, and that now includes the BBC iPlayer. Current cost is £147 for a colour TV licence, and you can spread the cost by direct debit.

Differences and problems

You’ll be used to paying a form of council tax and for your utilities in Australia, but the UK TV licence is different and must not be avoided. If caught using a receiver without a licence you can be fined heavily. If you do find yourself in financial difficulties and you are struggling to meet your bills you can get help from to tide you over for a short period.

The UK also taxes vehicles at different rates depending on engine size and environmental impact so take this into account when you’re organising a car purchase and calculating your household budgeting.

Household bills can be expensive but you can also control them, especially utilities, and you can always find help if you need a short-term financial boost.

Australian Times

Australian Times

For, by and about Aussies in the UK.


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