The new laws for 2023 - and how they could affect you
The UK managed to have three prime ministers and countless reshuffles in 2022, but despite the chaos, the government still found time to pass a number of laws that will come into effect next year.
The biggest shake-ups will be around tax and income. With the UK economy struggling and Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak keen to put the chaos caused by Liz Truss's mini-budget behind them, the government is increasing taxes and tightening its belt next year.
Next year will also see one major change to democracy as the long-awaited and controversial voter ID laws come into effect.
Here's what you need to know for 2023:
The Elections Act 2022, which introduces voter photo identification for in-person voting in Great Britain for the first time, received royal assent in April.
The new policy will be used for the first time in the May local elections and an extensive public awareness campaign is planned in the run-up to the vote.
The rules mean anyone wishing to vote in an election will be required to present a valid photo ID.
Any form of valid photo ID will be accepted including driver's licences, passports and bus passes.
Critics have pointed out that, of the many forms of accepted ID, older people are far more likely to have them than younger people. For example, a 60s+ Oyster Card is accepted whereas a standard Oyster Card - despite having a photo on it - is not.
The government will also create a free 'Voter Authority Certificate' for anyone without a photo ID.
It claims the legislation is necessary to prevent voter impersonation at the polls, but critics say it has never been a major issue and could put people off voting.
Labour said if the new laws are shown to have a negative impact on turnout in May then it should be scrapped.
Personal Income Tax
There are some changes to personal income tax, which will effectively mean everyone will pay more from the start of the new financial year.
In his autumn statement, Hunt cut the threshold for those on the top 45p rate from £150,000 to £125,140.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the change would increase the number of top-rate taxpayers by around 350,000, bringing the total to around one million.
This April will also see income tax levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland frozen and they will remain so until 2028.
This means the personal allowance will remain at £12,570 and the basic rate will stay capped at £50,270.
The thresholds usually increase as wages grow, but with them frozen and wages growing at the fastest rate in years it will mean more people end up paying more tax.
This is especially true for people who get tipped into the middle personal income tax rate.
The planned 1.25% National Insurance hike has been scrapped but the payment thresholds will remain frozen until 2028.
The effect of these changes means that if you earn £30,000 a year by 2028 you will have paid an additional £3,900.
Hunt also gave local authorities to increase council tax by 5% instead of the usual 3%. Currently, authorities must hold local referendums if they want to increase council tax by more than 3%, but Hunt raised this to 5% in the autumn statement.
Again as part of the autumn statement, the chancellor announced a 9.7% increase in the national living wage, which will rise to £10.42 an hour from April, meaning a £1,600 pay rise for a full-time worker.
Pensions and benefits
One of the most contentious issues ahead of the autumn statement was the uprating of benefits and the triple lock on pensions.
Usually, pensions are increased by the triple lock guarantee every April, which means they will go up by whatever is highest, 2.5%, wage growth or inflation.
In 2021 the government broke its manifesto promise to maintain the triple lock after wage growth grew sharply due to an anomaly in the statistics caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
They were under pressure to keep their promise of returning the triple lock and Hunt committed to increasing pensions by in inflation this April, which will mean a likely increase of around 10%.
The government was under similar pressure to do the same for benefits, with people pointing out the poorest in society were struggling the most with the cost-of-living crisis, and Hunt agreed committed to uprating benefits in line with inflation.
In September former prime minister Liz Truss capped the amount the average household will spend on energy bills at £2,500 a year.
This is more than double what the average household paid in 2021 but still shields most from the soaring price of gas.
The cost of this policy is eye-watering as is estimated to be costing the government around £5bn a month.
In the autumn statement, the chancellor said the cap would continue until at least April 2024, but will rise from £2,500 to £3,000.
Hunt also announced additional cost-of-living payments next year for the most vulnerable, of £900 to households on means-tested benefits, £300 to pensioner households, and £150 for individuals on disability benefit.
Internet safety laws
The Online Safety BIll has not yet received royal assent so there could still be a delay. The new rules would require tech companies to remove illegal material from their platforms, with a particular emphasis on protecting children from seeing harmful content.
Social media platforms and other user-generated content-based sites that break these rules would face large fines from the sector’s new regulator, Ofcom.
The Online Safety Bill has been controversial as it is at the centre of a debate over free speech, censorship, and the necessity to police harmful content on the internet.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 is set to be a hugely significant moment.
When the UK left the EU in 2020 the government effectively turned all current EU law into British law to ensure there was not legal chaos.
The Retained EU Law bill will place a "sunset" on nearly all of these laws from 31 December 2023.
As ever, with Brexit, this is destined to be fiendishly controversial and complicated. You can read more about the bill on the government's website here and here.
The bill was presented to the House of Commons for its first reading on Thursday 22 September 2022. No date has yet been indicated for Its Commons second reading.