Original article from Kent Live
October is upon us – and that means that some new laws and rule changes are about to come into force that will impact your life in some pretty noticeable ways.
Everyone in Kent – and the UK – will see big shifts in the way they pay for energy and eat at cafes – whilst over a million jobs might be put at risk.
What's more, new rules and regulations will see 15 million people's energy bills rise, and millions will see their benefit payments fall.
At the same time new laws protecting consumers, and children, come into force.
Here are the 10 key new rules and law changes for October you need to know.
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'Natasha's Law' comes into affect today (Fri) after a long-running campaign by Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse went into anaphylactic shock within minutes of take off on a British Airways flight to France after buying a sandwich at a Pret-A-Manger branch in Heathrow airport.
The 15-year-old knew she was allergic to milk, eggs, banana, nuts and sesame seeds so along with her dad, Nadim, had checked the label carefully.
But the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette contained sesame seeds that were baked into the dough and so not visible or listed in the ingredients.
She fell ill while in the air and despite efforts to give her adrenaline shots, she was unable to breathe and suffered a heart attack and later died in a French hospital on July 17, 2016.
Natasha, who lived in Fulham, west London, had been travelling to Nice with her father and best friend Bethany when tragedy struck.
Nadim, 56, administered two Epi-pens – which delivered potentially lifesaving adrenaline to his daughter as she struggled to breathe – but they did not work and she suffered multiple cardiac arrests.
Since her death Natasha’s parents – Nadim and mum Tanya – waged a tireless campaign to strengthen food labelling rules and better protect the estimated two million food allergy sufferers in Britain.
A loophole in the law meant Pret – and other firms like it – were not obliged to provide a full list of allergens on products made in their stores.
Now from today (October 1), Natasha's Law comes into force that will require more pre-packaged food like takeaway sandwiches, cakes and salads to have their full ingredients and allergy details listed on the item.
Changes ushered in by the law will apply to businesses selling their own pre-packaged food at other outlets they run – which will include market stalls and mobile food vans.
Botox banned for children
People under 18 years of age will no longer be able to get Botox and dermal lip fillers for cosmetic reasons under a new law in England.
The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act, which was brought into force in England on Friday, means it will be illegal to administer the products to or book an appointment for those under 18, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The department said failure “could result in a criminal prosecution and an unlimited fine”.
The law applies to those visiting from outside England or who have the permission of someone aged over 18.
Treatments can, however, still be approved by a medical practitioner to be carried out by a doctor, nurse, dentist or pharmacist on those under 18 with a clinical need.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has ended, with around one million people still believed to have been buying paid through the furlough scheme at the end of September.
Ministers say this could result in a number of job losses, as companies will now be responsible for paying staff if they want to keep them on the books.
Energy bills rise
Energy bills for 15 million households will increase by at least £139 to a record high from today under Ofgem’s latest price cap as suppliers grapple with soaring wholesale prices.
The regulator decided in August that energy customers on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see the sharpest jump in prices since the cap was introduced in January 2019, taking average bills to £1,277.
Pre-payment customers will see costs rise by £153, from £1,156 to £1,309.
The increase has been driven by a rise of more than 50% in energy costs over the last six months, with gas prices hitting a record high as inflation jumped amid the easing of pandemic restrictions, Ofgem said.
Universal Credit £20 uplift axed
The Government gave everyone on Universal Credit a £20 a week uplift through the coronavirus pandemic.
The ends in October – meaning everyone on the benefit will see their payments drop.
The move is opposed by six former work and pensions secretaries, charities, think tanks, teachers and MPs across the political spectrum.
Halogen bulbs banned
Sales of halogen lightbulbs will be banned, with high-energy fluorescent lights to follow suit, under Government climate plans.
The move will cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year and is part of tighter energy efficiency rules which will help save consumers £75 a year, the Business Department said.
The UK began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen lightbulbs in 2018 under EU-wide rules, and now retailers will no longer be able to sell most remaining halogen bulbs, such as kitchen spotlights, from September 2021.
It will help continue the shift to low energy LED lightbulbs, which already account for around two thirds of lights sold in Britain, and is expected to mean LEDs will account for 85% of all bulbs sold by 2030, officials said.
Eviction notice changes
Eviction notices will go back to normal from this Friday (October 1) after temporary measures were introduced to give people more time to find a new home during the Covid pandemic.
About half a million private tenants are now trying to stay on top of £360 million in rent arrears across the UK, according to calculations from StepChange Debt Charity.
Private renters in arrears said they were behind by just under £800 on average.
They now face being evicted by their landlords.
VAT holiday ends
Due to the pandemic, on 8 July 2020, the government announced a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions, reports Cowgills.
The reduced rate was initially introduced for a temporary period between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 and was subsequently extended to 31 March 2021.
In the Budget 2021, the Chancellor announced that the 5% reduced rate would be extended again until 30 September 2021 and further that from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, the temporary reduced rate of 5% VAT will change to the new reduced rate of VAT of 12.5%.
The normal standard rate of 20% will now return on 1 April 2022.
That means the cost of your holidays, and what you buy in cafes, pubs and restaurants, is likely to be higher this month.
Stamp duty holiday ends
The tax holiday on stamp duty rates which was introduced in July 2020, comes to an end in England and Northern Ireland at the end of this month.
It means that home buyers will have to pay stamp duty on all purchases above £125,000.
National Lottery age change
Under-18s will be banned from playing the National Lottery from today, as the minimum age rises from 16 to 18.
This follows the launch of a major review of gambling laws to protect children and vulnerable people from the dangerously addictive gambling industry.
Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, said the new restrictions will help ensure that lottery is not a "gateway to problem gambling" – especially with the growth in online gaming.