Money Box

Money Box

United Kingdom

The latest news from the world of personal finance plus advice for those trying to make the most of their money.

Episodes

Money Box Live: Disability and self-employment  

There are a record 5m self-employed workers in the UK.They account for the 45 per cent of the growth in total employment since 2008. Analysis of the figures show that 16% of working disabled people identify as being their own boss, compared with 13% of the nondisabled population. As part of a dedicated week of BBC News coverage exploring the experiences of disabled people in the workforce, Lee Kumutat and guests discuss why this difference exists and the affect it may have on government employment policy. Are you one of the three-quarters of a million self-employed with a disability and would like to share your experience with us? Email: moneybox@bbc.co.uk or tweet: @moneybox. Or call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 22 February. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. As well as disabled entrepreneurs, we'll also be hearing from an expert panel of academics and researchers about the state of labour market and where self-employment leaves the so called 'Disability Employment Gap', as well as finding out about help available for budding disabled entrepreneurs. Guests include; Conor D'arcy - Resolution Foundation, Prof Melanie Jones - Cardiff Business School, Kath Sutherland - START Ability Services, Steve McCulley - entrepreneur, Lios Bikes and James Brown - entrepreneur, Mobilioo. Presenter: Lee Kumutat Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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HSBC closes church account  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the Related links section below. Nearly four years ago a rescue deal saved the Co-operative Bank from collapse. As a result only 20% is now owned by its former parent the Co-operative Group. The remainder is held by institutional investors, including US hedge funds, who wrote off the bank's debts in return for shares. This week it was announced that Co-operative Bank is up for sale. Its ethical banking policy is a draw for many of its customers - will it make it more or less attractive to potential buyers? How does ethical banking work more generally? Frances Coppola, independent banking commentator and Stephen Hines, Director of the ethical investment research firm Vigeo Eiris discuss. A decision by the global bank HSBC to close the bank account of St Nicholas Church in the Parish of Harpenden in Hertfordshire has left its clergy confused. Parishioners are wondering what will happen to their regular standing order donations. Money Box investigates the reasons behind this holy mess. Last week's Money Box investigation into how a Luton couple lost nearly £200,000 to criminals, drew a strong reaction from listeners. Some thought the blame for the fraud lay with the Shah family and not their bank. Their nephew Niraj Shah gives his response to the critics and we also hear from Professor Mark Button, Director and founder of the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live - Changes to benefits  

If you're of working age and in receipt of benefits, you may soon find what you receive is not keeping up with inflation. From April, there will be significant changes for those receiving Child Tax Credits, Universal Credit and Bereavement Benefit. Money Box Live has a panel of experts to unpick and explain the changes and advise on how they might affect you. Paul Lewis presents the programme with Disability Rights UK Chief Executive Liz Sayce, David Finch, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation and Will Hadwen, Welfare Rights Trainer at Working Families.

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Landmark moment for cohabiting couples?  

A woman has won a Supreme Court battle over access to her late partner's occupational pension. Will this now strengthen pension rights for millions more unmarried couples? Could the impact be felt wider still in other areas of cohabiting couples' personal finances? Ofgem has announced details of a price cap for customers on prepayment meters. How will it work in practise? And the elderly couple systematically defrauded of their life savings of almost £200k across a couple of months. Many of the payments were withdrawn and paid in again within minutes at the same bank branch. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Robo-advice  

Could a machine give better financial advice than a human? The world of personal finance is a-buzz with talk of so-called robo-advice as the next big thing. Getting automated advice online may be cheaper than dealing with a real person face-to-face, but is the advice good enough? And what kind of protection is there for consumers? A panel of experts talks through the pros and cons of automated advice - and is ready to take your questions. Call 03700 100 444 from 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 8th or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk now. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Simon Maybin Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Thousands face current accounts shut down  

Around 100,000 current account customers with Norwich and Peterborough Building Society have until the end of August to move their money elsewhere. It follows the decision by its owner, Yorkshire Building Society, to exit the current account market in order to focus on its savings and mortgage products. Guest: Mike Regnier, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Building Society. The growth of automatic enrolment workplace pension schemes reached a milestone this week. For the first time the number of people in schemes where both the employee and employer pay contributions has overtaken membership numbers for schemes based on years worked and salary earned. It comes as two separate reports highlight concerns for some of the smaller firms and lower paid staff who are in, or due to join, them. Bob Scott, Chairman of the Association of Consulting Actuaries and Andrew Warwick-Thompson, Executive Director at the Pensions Regulator discuss. More transparent overdraft charges and simplifying the process of switching bank accounts. Those are just two of the changes which the Competition and Markets Authority now want to see banks put into practice following its review of the industry. Alasdair Smith Chair of the CMA's retail banking investigation outlines why and how banks will be working much harder for their customers. The energy supplier npower has announced plans to raise prices for its duel fuel customers. From 16 March standard tariff electricity prices will go up by 15% and gas prices by 4.8%. Independent consumer champion Ann Robinson explains what's behind the price increase. Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: The End of the Tax Return  

Imagine a world where you no longer have to submit an annual tax return... Instead you'll have to do it digitally every three months. And from April 2018 it will be mandatory if you are self employed, VAT registered or a property landlord. It's all part of the government's Making Tax Digital initiative designed to transform our tax system. So if you are one of the groups affected, how prepared are you? You can put your questions and comments to a panel of experts joining Adam Shaw on Wednesday 1st February from 3pm. Call 03700 100 444 from 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 1st or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk now. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Tax simplification. It's complicated  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the Related links section below. What impact have recent efforts to simplify the UK's tax system had? To what extent will progress be helped or hindered by government plans to move HMRC to a fully digital tax system by 2020. Guests John Whiting, Director of the Office of Tax Simplification and Paul Aplin Tax Partner at AC Mole & Sons and Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Many cash machines don't charge customers for withdrawing cash. This week it was announced that the Link network, whose members operate around 70,000 ATMs in the UK, are setting up a group to ensure they stay free to use. Currently the costs of operating the network are shared by members, some now want to reduce the fee they pay. Dominic Hirsch, Managing Director of RBR discusses the economics of the ATM industry. Money Box has learned that some price comparison websites are claiming hundreds of pounds of commission on the sale of life insurance polices, even when they don't offer any advice. Why does happen and is there anything you can do to avoid it appearing on your policy? Guest Michael Ward from payingtoomuch.com Millions of carers have yet to claim credits which maintain their National Insurance records when they're unable to make contributions. The credits help to build up qualifying years, which count towards the entitlement for the basic state pension. Sarah Pennells founder of Savvywoman.co.uk explains who else can apply and how. Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Downsizing  

The government's much anticipated white paper on housing policy is expected next week. Amongst the various policies designed to fix the housing crisis, it's thought there will be a number of incentives to encourage older people to downsize including exemptions from stamp duty and help with moving costs. But is this the right approach to take? Email your comments and questions about downsizing to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 25 January you can call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Panel includes: Prof Debora Price Angus Hanton Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Southern Comfort  

One frustrated user of the Southern rail franchise was refunded half of the cost of his season ticket this week. But instead of the refund coming from the train company it came from his credit card provider. What are your rights to plastic refunds for disrupted travel? January is traditionally when lawyers see a spike in the numbers of couples who've decided to divorce. We look at the case where one wealthy husband has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling that he must give half his assets to his wife when they divorce. He says that £140m of his fortune is entirely due to his own skill and enterprise and he should be allowed to keep it. According to the Office for National Statistics crime survey, nearly half of all crime reported in England and Wales is fraud and cybercrime. Whilst the numbers of these types of crimes are up, the numbers of cases passed to the police to investigate is down. We also report an update on the case of Nargess Sadjady who lost £12k to criminals but recorded the calls the fraudsters made to her. And the whistleblower who has just won a 13-year "David and Goliath battle" against HSBC and the Financial Conduct Authority, resulting in a multimillion-pound compensation payout to thousands of people. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Richard Vadon.

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Money Box Live: Winter Finances  

Winter can be an expensive time of year. Burst pipes, cancelled flights and additional heating bills can put a real squeeze on your finances. So how best to ease the extra pressure? Email your comments and questions about winter finances to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 18 January you can call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Joining Adam are an expert panel including: Sue Hayward - money and consumer expert Malcolm Tarling - Association of British Insurers Mervyn Kohler - Age UK Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Can't pay, won't pay, will pay  

More information related to stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the Related links section below. Money Box hears from David who paid £3,400 for a motor home he'd found online. Only he hadn't. Instead his cash ended up in a TSB bank account controlled by criminals. His attempts to get his money back from his own bank failed as did two appeals to the Financial Ombudsman. TSB also initially rejected him twice but have now paid him back. Why has that finally happened and what can, or can't, the Financial Ombudsman do when a victim of fraud tries to reclaim their cash from an account that's been set up by scammers? It's been a record-breaking week for the FTSE 100. London's main share index marked the longest run of 12 consecutive days of closing record highs. The last time it did that was 1997 when it managed eight days in a row. Russ Mould, Investment Director at AJ Bell and independent market analyst Brenda Kelly discuss whether it's a cause for celebration or concern. Just over 4 million couples qualify for the marriage allowance tax break. It allows people who are married or in a civil partnership, who don't pay tax, to transfer some of their unused personal allowance to their spouse who does. The latest figures from HMRC reveal that 1.39 million couples have claimed. Robin Williamson, Technical Director of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group outlines how it works and how you can get it. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: How safe is your password?  

Email your comments and questions about the future of passwords to moneybox@bbc.co.uk From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 11 January you can call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Passwords are everywhere. The government conservatively estimates that on average we have 25 online accounts which require one and recent research shows 60% of us struggle to remember them. With dire warnings about the consequences of writing them down or using the same one for everything, the passwords we tend to create are weak and based on information hackers have easy access to. So what is the solution to keeping everything secure yet allowing us unfettered access to our online accounts? Adam Shaw and guests explore what a post-password future might look like. Panel includes: Lawrence Munro - SpiderLabs, Trustwave Angela Sasse - Professor of Human-Centred Security. UCL Charlie McMurdie - Senior Cyber Crime Advisor,PwC Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Cheaper energy when it rains  

Paul Lewis hears from a listener who built up savings of £180,000 over more than ten years in business, only to have it all stolen from her account in 24 hours by online scammers. Should her bank have noticed and stepped in? We also hear from the Payments Systems Regulator on one safety measure - confirmation of payee - being considered for 2018. And retail banking consultant Richard Emery, who specialises in investigating credit and debit card and online banking fraud, reveals the six steps he thinks banks should take to really crack down on the fraudsters. Also, cheaper energy when it rains. A new hydro power scheme in Bethesda in Gwynedd is offering locally generated cut price energy to selected households who are willing to change their energy consumption habits. We hear how it works and whether it and other overseas local energy schemes could be models for more of us paying less for energy. We'll also ask whether even the incentive of lower bills is enough to make us alter our patterns of energy use? And - the government estimates that we each have, on average, 25 password-protected online accounts. That's a lot of passwords to remember. If you write them down, you risk invalidating your consumer protection. If you make them too repetitive, a fraudster who breaches security on one of your accounts might gain access to all the rest too. If you make them too easy, they won't give you much protection in the first place. So take a deep breath, and hear about the techniques and new technology that could help you - and about the options that could actually put you more at risk. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Paul Waters.

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Money Box Live: Credit Reports  

Email your comments and questions about credit scores and reports to moneybox@bbc.co.uk From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 4 January you can also call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Credit checks underpin many significant personal finance activities such as applying for a loan. Your credit score plays a part in determining not only whether your request is accepted, but also the rate of interest you'll have to pay. Credit scores can also be used to decide whether energy customers will be allowed to switch from prepayment meters in order to pay on a monthly or quarterly basis instead. What does the credit scoring process involve, what other factors do lenders consider and how can a score be improved? Adam Shaw is joined by Professor Jonathan Crook, Director of the Credit Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh Business School, Dr Steven Finlay, Head of Analytics at Computershare Loan Services and James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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The death of the single price?  

If you've caught a train recently or booked a hotel or even taken an Uber minicab you'll be familiar with the idea that a fixed price for a single product is fast becoming a thing of the past. This practice of charging different prices based on how much people are willing to pay rather than the cost of production is known as price discrimination. The rise of online retailing and associated information on how we shop means that it is spreading. Charging customers exactly the amount they are prepared to pay for a product is obviously good for businesses, but what about the consumer? How does it affect our relationship with goods, services, and other customers, especially when there could be a difference of hundreds of pounds between what you and your neighbour on a flight have paid? And how best to play businesses at their own game? Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Guide to the Unprotected - personal finance past and present  

"Many young people, and especially widows and single ladies, when they first possess money of their own, are in want of advice when they have commonplace business matters to transact...... my aim throughout is to avoid all technicalities; to give plain and practical directions, not only as to what ought to be done, but how to do it." Those words are from a personal finance book called 'Guide to the Unprotected in Every-Day Matters Relating to Property and Income' which was first published in 1863. The author, listed as 'A Banker's Daughter', was Emma Galton who was born in Birmingham in 1811. Her book was intended for women with no knowledge of financial matters. Its clear and practical information covered shares, investments, where to find financial advice and what women could do to protect their personal fortunes within their marriages. What was the financial environment like for nineteenth century investors, especially women? Where did they put their money and why? How much of the book is relevant today? Paul Lewis is joined by Jeanette Rutterford, Research Professor of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance at the Open University Business School, Anna Sofat, Founder and Managing Director of Addidi Wealth, Dr Lucy Newton Associate Professor in Business History at Henley Business School and Alison Belbin as the voice of The Banker's Daughter. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Scottish income tax goes north  

Is it the beginning of the end for the £50 note? Plans for converting Bank of England notes to plastic (with or without animal fat) end with the £20 in 2020. But the future may not be so bright for the £50. There are currently no plans for the more durable version. And as other countries phase out their high value notes - or in India's case not so high ones - to discourage crime, money laundering and tax evasion there are suggestions that the £50 may follow them to the museum. Claer Barrett, FT Money Editor discusses the rise and fall of high-value banknotes. Are the banks doing enough to combat financial crime? The Payment Systems Regulator confirmed this week that it has decided on a programme of liaising, sharing information, developing statistics, and developing best practice standards. And there will be ongoing monitoring and a review later next year. Consumer group Which? remains unimpressed. Higher rate taxpayers in Scotland will pay £314 a year more than those in the rest of the UK under plans revealed by the Scottish Government this week. Finance Minister Derek Mackay used his new powers over income tax to make just one change. From April the 40% higher rate of tax will begin at £43,430 rather than the £45,000 which will apply in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. So who will pay it? And how will they know? Stephen Hay, Head of Tax Scotland for RSM explains. Ten credit unions have got together to offer the same sort of instant loans that so far have been the preserve of pay day lenders and other high cost credit providers. They will be offering a low APR (around 13.9% they say) and an instant decision. However, the money may still not be transferred instantly as they are currently promising a next business day service. Could this be the long-awaited breakthrough for credit unions? Or another damp squib? Mohsin Mehdi from My Community Bank tells us why he thinks this new initiative will work. Producer: Lee Kumutat Reporter: Jordan Dunbar Presenter: Paul Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Charity Box  

Money Box looks inside the Charity Box - with Christmas coming, you may feel that twinge to give to charity, but how do you know that your money is being spent wisely? With stories of financial irregularities and concerns over aggressive tactics by some charities to get hold of your cash, how should we choose to give to those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year? Louise Cooper presents this edition of Money Box Live with guests, Sarah Atkinson, Charity Commission director of policy and communications, Chief Executive Dan Corry from New Philanthropy Capital and Gareth Jones Editor, Charity Finance. E mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your questions and comments. Or ring the programme. 03 700 100 444. Lines are open from 1pm on Wednesday and geographic charges apply.

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Stamps, wine, coins and books - alternative investments  

Stanley Gibbons has been selling rare and valuable postage stamps since 1856. In more recent years it's made them available as investments along with coins, books and other collectibles. Money Box Listener Russell has discovered that a stamp investment contract with the company, which his father failed to cash in after it expired two years ago, is now worth less that the £10,000 he put in. What should people who put their cash into alternative assets realistically expect from their unregulated investments? There was a time when the idea of transferring out of a final salary pension, with its guaranteed income, was considered strange. Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London and Andrew Tully, Pensions Technical Director at Retirement Advantage discuss the market conditions that have changed that view as well as why people are cashing in and what they need to consider. The Bank of England once described the buy-to-let property sector as a threat to financial stability because it fed price rises which in turn could spark a housing market crash. As well as existing measures in place to curb growth, next year sees the introduction of changes to tax relief and the possibility of new limits on the amount that landlords can borrow. Carolyn Uphill Chair of the National Landlords Association and Dan Wilson Craw, Policy and Communications Manager, Generation Rent debate whether this is the beginning of the end for buy-to-let or will landlords still find ways to thrive.

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