April not only brings lighter evenings and more spring-like weather, but also marks the start of the financial year.

You know a new financial year is coming when you see adverts for ISAs. But it also means the annual uprating of benefits, and several significant Budget changes came into effect on the 1st, 6th and 8th of this month.

For several years there has been a big cumulative increase in the legal minimum hourly pay rate, halving the proportion of work that is low-paid since 2015.

Now the National Living Wage is going further, up to £11.44 per hour, benefitting more than two million people.

National Insurance payments have been cut by two per cent for most employees, and when added to the earlier two per cent cut in January this gives £900 per year back to these individuals.

Many will also benefit from changes to the child benefit cap which I wrote about recently in this column.

A major increase in early years support also begins this month, with 15 hours of funded term-time childcare for working parents’ two-year-olds.

This programme will expand further, with a staggered approach so childcare providers have time to prepare, so there are enough places to meet demand.

In September 15 hours of childcare will be extended to children aged nine months. And from September 2025 working parents of children under five will be entitled to 30 hours.

Altogether this is a dramatic increase and will enable many parents to return to the workplace knowing much of their childcare costs are covered.

Inflation-linked benefits uprating happens in April. Although inflation is now lower, it is the rate from September 2023 that is used for the calculation, so the main working-age benefits – such as Universal Credit – rise by 6.7 per cent.

For those no longer working, the ongoing pensions triple lock means a higher rise, of 8.5 per cent, in line with earnings growth at the time. This is worth around £900 on the full state pension, broadly equivalent to the National Insurance cuts.

And the energy price cap for a typical household drops 12 per cent to the lowest level since Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

That will help with what remains the most important thing economically this year: inflation coming down.