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Sunday 3rd March 2024

Key 2024 dates to get your finances in shape 

Stay prepared and manage your finances effectively with important dates this year to remember for your money.

While learning a new hobby or focusing on your fitness might be a good New Year’s resolution, aiming to get your finances in shape this 2024 should definitely be on top of your list.

Here are some key dates this year, from taxes to pensions and household bills to childcare, to keep you prepared and help you better manage your finances.

January

1st: New energy price cap

The new energy price cap from January to March 2024 rises to £1,928 per year, up 5% from £1,834 between October and December 2023. 

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Ofgem will revise the energy price cap every three months this year. But remember, it is still the cost per unit that is capped, which could go higher or lower depending on your energy consumption.

2nd: Childcare registration opens

Applications for free childcare in England are open. 

From April, working parents will receive 15 hours a week of free childcare for two-year-olds and from September for children aged nine months to two years. All household adults must work at least 16 hours a week and earn between £8,670 and £100,000 a year to qualify.

6th: National Insurance cut

The National Insurance contributions for employees are to be cut from 12% to 10%, as announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his Autumn Statement. This means an average worker earning £35,400 will save £450 more in 2024-25.

31st: Self-assessment tax return deadline

If you need to file your self-assessment tax returns and pay any tax owed, the deadline is by midnight on Wednesday, 31st January. 

February

1st: Interest Rate Decision

This is the first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year to determine the base rate. 

The rate has been held at 5.25% since August 2023 and while the rate is expected to fall, several predictions say the Bank of England might not start slashing it yet.

March

3rd: Rail fares rise

Rail fares in England are set to rise by 4.9% from the 3rd of March.

Rail fare rises are normally based on the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI). However, this year the Department of Transport has maintained the price hike below the 9% RPI measured in July 2023.

6th: Budget Statement

This year’s Spring Budget is to be delivered on 6th March by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The Budget is the Government’s update on the state of the economy along with their financial forecasts and proposed changes to taxes, spending plans or schemes. This Budget is key for the Conservatives due to speculations of a spring general election this year.

21st: Interest Rate Decision

The next MPC meeting of the year will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate.

23rd: Fuel duty cut ends

The 5p fuel duty cut announced in March 2022 comes to an end.

April

1st: New energy price cap

Ofgem’s revised energy price cap for April to June 2024 is to be announced and is expected to fall further.

1st: Household bills

Council tax is set to rise in England, but the exact amount is only expected to be finalised and announced by March. Councils can raise the tax by up to 5% without calling a referendum. 

TV license fees will rise in line with inflation by £10.50, taking the new cost to £169.50.

Water bills are going to rise from April, but are expected to rise by less than planned due to the £114 million penalty on water companies which is to be offset in customers’ bills.

1st: National Living Wage and Minimum Wage Rise take effect

The minimum hourly wage for 21-year-olds and over will go up from £10.42 to £11.44 in April. This is a record increase of 9.8%. 

18-20-year-olds will also see a pay rise of £1.11, taking the hourly minimum wage to £8.60.

1st: Childcare 

The 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds will be available from this month.

5th: End of tax year

The 2023-24 tax year ends on 5th April. 

If you haven’t used your £20,000 ISA allowance (or for under 18s, £9,000), this is the last date to do so. This is also the last date to contribute any extra pension to your pension pot to receive the benefit from tax relief.

6th: New tax year starts 

This is the first day of the new tax year 2024-25.

National Insurance (NI) contributions will change for the self-employed. Class 2 NICs will be abolished and Class 4 NICs will be cut from 9% to 8%.

The dividends tax-free allowance will be halved from £1,000 to £500 and the capital gains tax-free allowance will be halved from £6,000 to £3,000. This makes it important to fully utilise your Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs).

A few ISA changes come into effect this financial year. They offer savers more flexibility by allowing them to pay into multiple ISAs of the same type and transferring slices of ISA money paid in during the current tax year.

The minimum age to open an ISA rises to 18, closing the loophole allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to have a JISA and cash ISA allowance during the same tax year.

8th: State pension rises come into effect

The full new state pension will rise by 8.5%, from £203.85 to £221.20 per week, in line with the triple lock mechanism. Meanwhile, for those who reached the state pension age before April 2016, the full basic state pension will rise from £156.20 to £169.50 per week.

May

There are speculations of a spring election to be held in May following the last Autumn Statement. The Spring Budget in March will further reveal the Conservatives’ preparations for this election.

9th: Interest Rate Decision

Another MPC meeting of the year will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate.

June

20th: Interest Rate Decision

Another MPC meeting of the year will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate. According to several predictions, the Bank of England is expected to significantly start slashing the rate as we enter the second half of 2024.

July

1st: New energy price cap

Ofgem’s revised energy price cap for the third quarter of 2024 is to be announced and is expected to drop further.

31st: Payment on account deadline 

If you’re self-employed, this is the second and final payment on account for the tax year. It has to be paid by midnight on 31st July. 

August

1st: Interest Rate Decision

Another MPC meeting of the year will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate.

14th: July inflation announcement

While the inflation rate change is announced every month, July’s is particularly important as it is used to set the increase in rail fares for the next year.

September

1st: Childcare second stage

This is the second stage of the Government’s free childcare roll-out extending the 15 hours of free childcare per week to children aged nine months and over.

19th: Interest Rate Decision

Another MPC meeting will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate.

October

1st: New energy price cap

Ofgem’s revised energy price cap for the last quarter of 2024 is to be announced.

5th: Deadline to register for self-assessment 

This is the deadline to register with the HMRC if you’re new to self-assessment. 

16th: September inflation announcement

While the inflation rate change is announced every month, September’s is particularly important as it is used to calculate the state pension and benefits rise from April 2025.

31st: Postal self-assessment deadline

If you’re filing your tax returns by post instead of online, the 31st of October is the last day to do so.

November

The Autumn Statement is the Chancellor’s update on the state of the economy and any further proposed changes to the Government’s tax system, spending plans and schemes. 

It usually takes place in November. Confirmed date TBA.

7th: Interest Rate Decision

Another MPC meeting will be held to decide if any changes are to be made to the base rate.

December

17th: Last possible date to call a general election

This is the last possible day to call for a general election (assuming one hasn’t happened in the year), which would then take place on 28th January 2025.

19th: Interest Rate Decision

The final MPC meeting of the year will be held to decide any changes to the base rate.

31st: £2 bus fare ends

The £2 single-journey bus fare cap is expected to come to an end in December 2024.

Photo credits: Pexels

Richa Ved

Richa is a young Indian graduate from Warwick Business School, aspiring to find her niche in the media industry. She has a passion for writing and a keen interest in financial affairs. If you don’t find her working, she’s probably having a pizza (her favourite!) and a pint of beer somewhere.

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