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Key dates to help you with your finances this autumn

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From Universal Credit cost-of-living payments through to the next energy price cap announcement, this autumn is shaping up to be anything but calm.

Starting from today, investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown has highlighted the important dates to keep an eye on this autumn to help you to manage your finances.

2 September

More than a million families on tax credits will get their first cost-of-living payment from 2 September. There will be a £326 automatic payment into bank accounts, followed by a second payment during the winter.

5 September

After the much-followed leadership race between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, the new prime minister will be announced on 5 September, providing the nation with much-needed clarity on what to expect in terms of financial support as prices continue to soar.

13 September

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will announce wage increase data, covering May to July 2022. This is important because it feeds into the “triple lock guarantee” which underpins the rise in state pensions in April. This figure isn’t expected to drive the increase because the inflation figure (measured in September and announced in October) is likely to be higher.

14 September or 21 September

Whether it is Liz Truss, the current favourite, or Rishi Sunak, the new prime minister will be expected to make a financial statement as soon as possible, laying out plans to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

15 September

The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee will make its next interest rate announcement. At the moment, a 0.5% rise is widely predicted.

20 September

The £150 disability cost-of-living payment will be paid from this date. Anyone who qualifies will receive the money automatically and most will do so by the start of October.

22 September

The new UK and London Living Wage rates for 2022-2023 will be announced. This is the voluntary real living wage rather than the government minimum.

30 September

This is the last day that the old paper £20 and £50 notes can be used. After this date, you won’t be able to spend them in stores. Shoppers are being encouraged to spend or swap these notes either at a bank or the Post Office.

Other September announcements to keep an eye on

A law in England is expected to be announced at some point in September. It will protect parents from needless school uniform costs for branded items. This law already exists in Scotland. Schools will have until September 2023 to bring the changes in if it means they need to find a new supplier.

Another law is also expected to change in September to allow unmarried parents to claim bereavement benefits.

1 October

The 80% rise in the energy price cap will come into force on 1 October, pushing the cost per year for dual fuel for the average household from £1,971 to £3,549.

The same date marks the deadline for whether enough people sign up in support of a ‘Don’t Pay’ protest. If a million people sign up to take part by this point, it will encourage consumers to cancel their energy bill direct debits in protest at energy price rises.

Hargreaves Lansdown notes that anyone who is considering doing this must appreciate that their energy supplier will still pursue the money. Building up debts and not paying them could have a profound impact on your credit rating. The supplier could insist on installing a pre-payment meter, so you can’t use energy without paying for it – and the cost of energy will be even higher as a result.

5 October

This is HMRC’s deadline to register for self-assessment tax returns.

19 October

September’s inflation figure will be announced on this date. This is used as one of the measures in the triple lock on the state pension, as well as the basis for uprating benefits too. There are concerns that due to the timing it won’t reflect October’s energy price cap hike or any further rises in January and April next year. By the time the inflationary increase kicks in next April, prices could have risen significantly beyond this level.

31 October

The deadline for submitting paper tax returns is midnight 31 October. It is worth noting that the deadline for online tax returns, which is by far the most popular route, is midnight 31 January 2023.

Other potential announcements

The Budget is usually scheduled around the end of October. In light of soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, this Budget will be an important one for the incoming prime minister, particularly if they haven’t announced measures to help struggling families before this date.

Another announcement to look out for is the date for second cost-of-living payment for people on universal credit, pension credit and other means-tested benefits, following the first payment in July. The second payment of £324 will be made during the autumn but a date hasn’t been confirmed yet.

3 November

This date marks the next interest rate announcement. At the moment the market is expecting another rise, which could be as much as 0.5%.

24 November

The energy price cap for January will be announced on 24 November. Bar a resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, it is widely expected to spell more bad news for households.

25 November

Black Friday marks a day of supposed ‘deals’ from retailers. While shoppers will no doubt be tempted to look around for bargains, particularly when it comes to big-ticket items, it is worth monitoring prices in the run-up. Previous investigations by the likes of consumer group Which? have revealed that prices of a number of products were in fact cheaper in the six months prior to Black Friday.

28 November

Cyber Monday is the online e-commerce equivalent of Black Friday. Once again, shoppers are encouraged to make sure there are genuine deals on offer.

Other November announcements

The cost-of-living payment for pensioners will be rolled up and paid with the winter fuel allowance. This will be paid to anyone over the state pension age in November or December. The total you receive will depend on your age and living circumstances.

Cold Weather payments will also be made from November of this year. In England and Wales, older people and those on specific benefits will get £25 for each seven-day period between November and the end of March that the average temperature outside is below freezing. In Scotland, this has been replaced by a £50 one-off payment to everyone who qualifies in February, regardless of how low the temperature gets.