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Utilities and Household Expenses

Gas and Electricity

Competition has now been introduced into the supply of electricity and gas in the UK, and there are a number of choices of supplier. Details and price comparisons can be found at http://www.energywatch.org.uk/ or by calling 0845 906 0708. Contact the individual companies for application procedures and connection charges.

For the supply of both gas and electricity, a credit meter is usually supplied and regular bills are sent to the customer following meter readings. In some accommodation you may already have, or choose to have, a “prepay” meter.  This involves crediting your gas/electricity meter using cash, and means you aren’t sent bills.  This method is particularly useful for people who are worried about budgeting or running up debts.  For new customers the company may ask for some form of security in the form of a cash deposit, a guarantor or a direct debit arrangement.

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Water

Domestic water supply is provided in the UK by a number of private companies.  In Herefordshire the company is Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru).  There is no charge for taking over a supply that is already connected. You may be able to choose whether to have your water supply metered or whether to be charged by another method (eg. a flat rate charge or one based on the value of the property). Tap water is safe to drink in the UK.

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Council Tax

This is payable to Herefordshire Council, although there are a few Herefordshire addresses, mostly in the Hay-on-Wye area, where Council Tax is payable to another local authority.  The amount of Council Tax you pay will depend on the accommodation in which you live and your personal circumstances.  As an example, the charge for 2011-2012 for a single person living in a “Band A” property is £748.85. 

Your Council Tax contributes to the budget requirements of Herefordshire Council, your Town or Parish Council and the Police and Fire Authority all of whom provide services to the people of Herefordshire.  Services provided by Herefordshire Council include, Libraries and Museums, Parks, Social Care, Street Cleaning, Highways, Environmental Health, Planning and Building Control.  Herefordshire Council has produced a leaflet detailing how services are funded.  The pocket-sized leaflet can be picked up from council offices, Info shops and libraries across the county.

Council Tax: Frequently Asked Questions

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TV Licence

Law requires a television licence for every household using television services, and the revenue raised from licenses is used to finance the BBC.  For further information please visit http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/.

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Insurance

This will depend on your personal circumstances.  You will need to check whether your particular accommodation includes any insurance.  When renting an unfurnished property, it is usual for the landlord to hold buildings insurance and the tenant to arrange his or her own “contents” insurance.  If you need to arrange cover, there are many websites where you can compare insurance to help you obtain the best deal.

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Refuse Collection

Local authorities are responsible for providing refuse collection services. Household waste is currently collected on a weekly basis, but from November 2014 Herefordshire is changing to alternate weekly general rubbish collections. Deliveries of wheeled bins for this collection will start in August 2014.

If you currently have a recycling bin you will automatically receive a new bin for your general rubbish and you do not need to take any further action.

The recycling service is available across the county and items collected include paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, tins and cans, cartons and plastic food containers.

Wheeled bins should be left at the boundary of the household closest to the public highway on the evening before collection is due to take place. To find out when your collection day is, go to https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/environmental-protection/waste-management/refuse-household-bin-collection/.

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Child Care

The cost of a full-time nursery place or place with a Childminder for a child under the age of two is in the region of £146 per week.  The typical cost for an after school club is £40 for 15 hours a week.  The typical weekly cost of a place for a child in a summer play scheme is £82 a week.

(Source: 2009 Childcare Costs Survey and 2008 Holiday Costs survey by the Daycare Trust)

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Cost of Running a Car

The main costs involved in running a car are road tax, MOT, insurance and fuel.  Costs for tax and insurance vary greatly taking into account many different factors.  Unleaded petrol is approximately £1.35 a litre.  See the section on “Owning a Car”, or visit http://www.dvla.gov.uk/ or http://www.vosa.gov.uk/ for further information.

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Shopping (Groceries)

Typical supermarket grocery prices as at January 2011 were as follows:

 

 Loaf of sliced bread  £1.00
 1 litre fresh milk  86p
 500g dried pasta  £1.00
 500g teabags  £2.59
 200g instant coffee    £1.57
 1.5kg fresh chicken  £4.00
 500g minced beef   £2.20
 1kg apples  £1.63
 800g laundry powder   £1.84
 Bottle of Chardonnay  £4.49
 Branded nappies (32-38 pack, various sizes) approx     £6.00

 

(Source: Tesco Supermarkets)

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