09Jan

That Happened

New Laws for 2017 – Minimum Wage, Letting Agency Fees & More

New Year, new laws! The New Year has well and truly begun, and as 2016 becomes distant memory, it’s time to look forward into 2017. We keep an eye on a few of the new laws coming into effect this year (or in the near future) that could impact you and your finances. Here are some of the changes to watch out for:

The minimum wage is going up!

Let’s kick off with some good news! The Government has said it is planning to have a national minimum wage of £9 per hour for over 25s by 2020. In April this year the minimum wage for workers aged over 25 will rise to £7.50 – a 30p increase on last year.  Younger age groups are also getting an increase in pay this year. 18 – 20 year olds will recieve a minimum of £5.60 and 21–24 year olds, £7.05. Although the increases aren’t huge, hopefully this means those in work will see the difference in their take home pay. Every little helps after all!

Ban on letting agency fees

This one is potentially great news for the renters out there. Last autumn, the Government announced a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants. Inn some cases it can reach as much as £400 per person! Unfortunately there isn’t a set date for this law to come into effect. However, when he announced it last year Chancellor Phillip Hammond said he wants to bring this change in ‘as soon as possible’. But, let’s not get too excited yet – it remains to be seen how letting agents will handle the ban. We also don’t know whether the costs will find their way back to tenants in other ways, such as rent increases. Keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Driving the costs of taxing your car up

For those who are planning to buy a new car this year, another change due in April 2017 will affect the cost of road tax. All vehicles will be charged at a tiered fee for the first year, based on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. After that, there will be a £140 flat rate for every year going forwards. Only 100 per cent electric cars will be let off paying road tax after April 2017. Before this new law, drivers with low emission cars were also exempt.

If you already own a car or are planning on buying a second hand car, there will be no changes to how much you pay. These changes only affect cars that are brand new and registered from April 2017 onwards.

Not wonderful news for petrol heads – but great news for the planet!

More funded apprenticeships will be available

Also in April this year, big businesses will have to pay a new tax in order to fund three million apprenticeships. The new levy is set to raise £3 billion a year and the money raised must be put towards new and existing apprenticeships or in-job training.

“How does this impact me?” you may well be thinking. Well, apprenticeships are vital to the UK’s economy. They allow school leavers and adults to work towards nationally recognised qualifications, while working and earning in their new role at the same time.  Having more apprenticeships available will be a great opportunity for those looking to get into work. It also allows people to pick up new skills to support a career change.

Ban on booster seats

In a bid to improve safety for  those families travelling by car, ‘backless’ booster seats will be banned this March for children shorter than 125cm and weighing less than 22kg. The ban will only apply to shops selling booster seats so don’t worry, there’s no need to buy a new one if yours doesn’t meet the new height and weight requirements. But, it’s worth bearing in mind what will be available if you do need to buy a new booster seat this year.

Which law will affect you most? Have your say in the comments!

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