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Higher car tax, more pay and more free child care: How new laws in 2017 could affect you

There will be changes to wages, tax, benefits and how many cigarettes you can buy this year

Driving, smoking, working and even looking after your kids promises to be different in 2017 as a host of new laws are introduced.

You have probably heard about some of the changes already, because it takes a while for legislation to come into force after it has been announced.

So here are some of the new laws, regulations and tax or benefits changes which will begin to be used this year.

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The minimum wage is going up

From April, minimum wage employees will see a significant boost to their pay.

At £7.50 an hour for over 25s, the rate will go up by 30p compared to last year.

There will be smaller increases for 18-20 and 21-24 year olds, to £5.60 and £7.05 respectively.

Pay could be going up even more over the next few years, as well, if the Government follows through on its promises to move towards a national minimum wage of £9 per hour for over 25s by 2020.

Buying cigarettes will be a very different experience

(Image: HANDOUT)

In a bid to cut smoking, the way tobacco is sold is undergoing a significant change.

In May last year, retailers were given 12 months to phase out branded packaging and to stop selling smaller packets of cigarettes and tobacco.

Packaging will now have to follow a drab green template, while packets of 10 cigarettes and pouches of tobacco smaller than 30g will be banned.

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You could be getting 30 hours free childcare a week

At the moment, all parents receive a contribution to the cost of nursery or child minder places equivalent to 15 free hours of care a week.

From September 2017, that will go up to 30 free hours for working parents.

To be eligible, you’ll have to work more than 16 hours and week and earn less the £100,000.

This means parents who work two days a week or under are not eligible, although it looks like they will still receive the 15 hours free childcare that is currently available.

Child tax credit won’t be available for more than two children

Last year, Chancellor George Osbourne announced that families will no longer be able to receive financial help for more than two children.

If you already claim child tax credits for three or more kids, you’ll still be able to claim, but anyone who has a third child on or after April 6 2017 won’t get any more money to account for the extra child.

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You might find it easier to get an apprenticeship

A new levy on big businesses to fund three million apprenticeships will come into force in April.

The new tax will raise £3billion a year from businesses with a salary bill of more than £3 million a year, so smaller companies won’t be hit.

The money raised will be given to businesses who will use it to offer apprenticeships and on-the-job training for over 16s, so it might be easier to get paid to learn a new skill this year.

Taxing your car could become more pricey

(Image: Manchester Evening News)

From April only 100 per cent electric cars will be exempt from road tax. That's bad news for anyone looking for a low-emission or diesel car, some of which currently avoid the tax.

Every other vehicle will be charged at a tiered first-year rate based on its CO2 emissions. This could be more expensive for some cars.

But after that, cars will be subject to a £140 flat fee for every year after that.

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This means a big hike for people looking for small, fairly economical cars, who could be paying over £100 more a year, though almost everyone will be paying more.

But remember this only applies to new cars bough after April. If you already own a car, or will be buying one registered before April 2017, there will be no changes to how much you pay.

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