Financial changes planned for 2013


The cost of rail season tickets, which are controlled by the government, have gone up by 4.2% on average this month. This means commuters are having to fork out £300 more for their annual tickets - a hike of nearly twice the rate of the retail prices index measure of inflation, at a time when the average salary increase is just 1.9%, according to the TUC.

Some passengers will see their ticket price soar above the average rise. For example, those travelling between Canterbury and London will see their fares increase by 5.9% to £4,860.


More workers will be swept into pension schemes from this month, as medium sized companies - those employing between 4,000 and 49,999 workers - join the government's auto-enrolment programme. Smaller companies - with between 500 and 3,999 employees - will follow suit in July.

Employees and employers will initially be required to pay 1% of salary into the scheme, but these amounts will be increased to 3 and 4% respectively from October 2018.

If you change jobs, while you will be automatically enrolled into your new employer's scheme, you will be able totransfer your old scheme into it should you wish.

While you are able to opt out of the scheme, your employer will automatically enrol you back into it every three years.


Life insurance and critical illness insurance premiums are expected to rise by 10% as a result of most life insurers being required to pay more tax, according to the Actuarial Profession. It's all to do with providers no longer being allowed to offset the costs of their life insurance business, from the profits made on their investments.

The effect of the rule change is also likely to wipe out any gains insurers make following the introduction of the European Gender Directive last month (December), which means men and women have to be treated the same when it comes to setting insurance premiums, regardless of risk.

This will likely increase the price women pay for their car, life and critical illness insurance. Meanwhile, men will likely get a lower annuity rate.

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Most working-age benefits are set to rise by 1% from April 2013 for the next three years. Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support will be increased by 1% for the next three years. However the capped rise is less than the current rate of inflation, which is 2.7% (consumer prices index).

Meanwhile, from this month, families with one person earning more than £50,000 will see their Child Benefit cut or scrapped altogether. Child Benefit will also be frozen in April 2013, but will rise by 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/16. The Child Tax Credit will also rise by only 1% for the next three years - well below inflation.

However, benefits for carers and the disabled, including disability elements of tax credits, will continue to increased in line with inflation.

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