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Money Matters

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UK varies depending on which area you live in. It is generally less expensive to live in the North than in the South of England. For examples of the cost of everyday items, you may wish to use this useful cost of living calculator. To compare costs in your own currency, you could use an online converter.

Council Tax

When you rent or buy a property in England, you have to pay council tax, which is used to fund the services provided by your local authority such as the police service, fire service and refuse collection. The amount that you need to pay depends on where you live and the size of your property. Generally, the bigger your property is, the more tax will be charged. The full list of council tax charges is available on a local authority's website:

It is important that you inform your local authority as soon as you move into your property.

National Insurance

If you don't have a National Insurance number, you must apply so that your contributions to the UK National Insurance Scheme can be recorded and you can only apply for it once you're in the UK. If you are moving to the UK, you may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). If not, to apply, call +44 (0)800 141 2075. You will then be sent an application form, or invited to attend an interview at the local Jobcentre Plus Office in Newcastle or Middlesbrough. Following this, you will be issued your National Insurance Number.

Income Tax

Income arising in the United Kingdom is liable to UK income tax by HM Revenue & Customs. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn, and not all income is taxable. Income tax will be automatically deducted from your pay by the University each month. The amount deducted will be indicated on your payslip. Please check the government website for more information. To calculate your net pay after deductions, you could use this online calculator.

Opening a Bank Account

There are a large number of banks in Durham and opening a bank account is a fairly quick and simple process, providing you have the correct documents. In order to confirm your identity and address, you are likely to need to provide the bank with the following (these must be original documents and not copies):

  • Passport or EU National Identity Card
  • Evidence of your UK address
  • Evidence of your address overseas (e.g. driving licence)
  • A bank statement from your existing providers (no more than three months old)
  • Confirmation of employment at Durham University (e.g. your offer letter)

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