Helen Nugent

Npower, rents, car insurance and credit

One of the UK’s biggest energy suppliers is under fire this morning for hiking the price of gas and electricity by an overall 9.8 per cent.

Npower has announced one of the largest single price rises implemented by a ‘Big Six’ supplier, according to the BBC. The company will raise standard tariff electricity prices by 15 per cent from 16 March, and gas prices by 4.8 per cent. This means that an average dual fuel annual energy bill will increase by £109.

A spokesperson for Ofgem said: ‘Our new supplier cost index shows that costs for energy suppliers have risen over the past year after having fallen for the previous two to three years. However, we don’t see any case for significant price increases where suppliers have bought energy well in advance. Npower must therefore justify the decision to its customers.’

Npower said the changes would affect about half of its customers. The other half are on fixed-term deals and will see no price rise. The announcement could trigger its rivals to implement similar price rises. Property The Telegraph reports that rents are expected to fall across the country over the next few months. HomeLet said that the average rent in the UK rose by 0.7 per cent in the last 12 months, falling 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis in January. It added that rental price inflation has fallen for the last seven months and, at the current rate of growth, that would go into negative territory soon. In other housing news, new research from Direct Line’s SELECT Premier Insurance reveals applications to build or extend basements in residential properties increased by 9 per cent between 2013 and 2015. In 2015 at least 1,968 planning applications were made to local councils in Great Britain, of which around three quarters (74 per cent) were granted.

A huge proportion (75 per cent) of all basement planning applications in 2015 were made in London, compared to regions like Wales and Yorkshire which received less than 1 per cent of planning applications.

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