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

The Role of the Private Pension Industry  

Governments are struggling to raise the taxes to pay for a generous State Pension while employers are less and less willing to fund generous pension schemes. Can we invest our own savings to fill the gap? The pension industry has come in for a lot of criticism for high fees, poor performance, and a lack of transparency. But there are signs that the industry and the government are determined that things will change for the better so can we rely on the pensions industry to help us attain the comfortable retirement many of us aspire to. One proposal is a "pensions dashboard" which will help us keep track of our pension savings and what kind of retirement income they should deliver. Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Ben Carter.

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The Retreat of Employers  

For many people, the workplace pension has been the crux of a decent income in retirement - a guaranteed sum paid for the whole of your non-working life. Stockmarket fluctuations, our increasing longevity and well-meaning changes to pensions policy by successive governments have helped make these sorts of schemes unaffordable. At the same time, something equally fundamental has been happening to the structure of the workplace as well as the nature of the relationship and expectations between employer and employee. The last 10 years has seen the closure of 60% of schemes which would guarantee you a 'wage' in retirement. Since 2012 a system of auto enrollment has instead required all employers to offer a pension that employees are opted into by default. But these come without any assurances about future pay outs and contribution rates are low. So what role do employers' pension schemes now have in providing us with a comfortable retirement? Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Will the State Pay for Our Retirement?  

The current State Pension system - guarantees anyone with requisite NI contributions a pension of £150ish a week (in real terms. It is protected by the "triple lock" and guarantees a minimum income on reaching State retirement age. But....it's not enough to live on - it's only it's only remotely enough for those with no housing costs and no-one believes the triple lock is affordable for much longer. How much can we rely on the State to fund a retirement. Presenter:Paul Lewis Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: The Death of Retirement?  

Louise Cooper and guests explore the challenges facing young people as they save for retirement. Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 2 August or email moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your questions and stories. By the time today's millennials reach retirement, they are predicted to live longer, work longer and earn less from their pensions. Saving for retirement can be a daunting prospect, especially when you are trying to get on the housing ladder or pay off student debt. We will be talking to Money Box listeners about what kind of retirement they want and how they can save for it. Whether you have a question to ask or an experience to share, we'd love to hear from you. Joining Louise Cooper to talk it over are: Iona Bain, Founder, The Young Money Blog Chris Curry, Director, The Pensions Policy Institute Steve Webb, Director of Policy, Royal London Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 2 August. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or email moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences. Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Josephine Casserly Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Can We Afford Retirement?  

In this first programme in a seven part series that explores what retirement might look like in the future, Brooke Elias, a 23 year old just starting out in the world of work asks three pension experts about the challenges she's likely to face in providing for her retirement and what the solutions might be. The population is getting older and the number of pensioners supported by each 1000 people in work is getting bigger. It will need steady rises in state pension age to keep it around its present level of three workers paying for each pensioner. Until recently the number of people paying into a pension at work was falling. Now, it is rising again with the automatic enrolment of most workers into one. But not enough is going into many workplace pensions to give members a comfortable retirement. So will tomorrow's pensioners be able to afford what is in effect a twenty year paid holiday at the end of their lives? And will the working population be willing to help them pay for it? Paul Lewis is joined by former Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann, Tom McPhail, Head of Retirement Policy at the finance company Hargreaves Lansdown and Paul Johnson Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: What happened next to listeners?  

We've featured some sensitive financial stories on Money Box this year, bank fraud, interest only mortgages, British Airways flight cancellations and more, but how did our listeners get on when the microphones were switched off? In this programme, Adam Shaw catches up with some of the listeners who've shared their tricky money problems to ask what happened next. We won't be able to include your calls in this programme but please do let us know your views, ideas and experiences. Call 03700 100 444 from 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 26 July, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk now.

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Travel money  

It's been a difficult few days for sterling and many holidaymakers may find themselves paying the price. This week the foreign exchange rate at Cardiff airport hit a low of 88 euro cent to the pound. James Daley, founder of the consumer group Fairer Finance outlines what people should think about when buying and using their travel money. The government has announced its decision to phase in the state pension age rise to 68 between 2037 and 2039, seven years earlier than planned. The law will have to be changed in order to bring the rise forward which won't happen until the next review of the state pension age takes place in 2023. Hugh Nolan, President of the Society of Pension Professionals, and an actuary, examines the life expectancy issues which shape pension policy. From January next year businesses will be banned from charging extra when customers pay by credit or debit card. The new rules will also apply to local councils and government agencies like the DVLA. The fees are also commonly applied by airlines. James Daley, founder of the consumer group Fairer Finance and Julia Lo Bue-Said Managing Director of the Advantage Travel Partnership discuss. The panel that advises the Financial Conduct Authority on consumer issues says it's time for industry regulators to stop telling financial services customers to shop around and switch bank accounts in order to get better deals. Guest Sue Lewis, Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel explains why that measure is not working and also suggests alternative ways for regulators and authorities to drive competition in a way that works more effectively for consumers. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Emma Rippon.

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Money Box Live: Your Money Problems  

Money Box listeners set the agenda this week as Louise Cooper and guests tackle some of the money problems you've raised with us in recent weeks. We often receive e-mails from you full of difficult questions but we don't explore them as much as we'd like, so we're dedicating this programme to your financial dilemmas. Leaseholder rights, Pensions post Brexit, your ideas to make energy pricing more transparent and how to make sure you get what you're owed if you go into a care home are all up for discussion. Joining Louise Cooper are: Professor Catherine Barnard, EU law expert, Cambridge University Jane Vass, Director of Policy and Research, Age UK Sebastian O'Kelly, Director, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership You can call with views and ideas from 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 19 July on 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk.

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Pension drawdown, New leasehold sales, Overdraft fees  

Many more people are drawing down from their pensions without taking advice, according to a study by the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA has reviewed changes in how people are accessing their retirement income in the year since pension freedoms came into force. The freedoms, which were brought in by the then Chancellor George Osborne, mean that instead of being required to buy an annuity with their pension pot, people aged 55 and over have more flexibility to take their pots how they wish. The FCA says that since the change, the proportion of people drawing down from the pensions without advice has risen from 5% to 30%. We hear from Claire Trott, Head of Pensions Strategy at the consultancy Technical Connection. And Graham Vidler, Director of External Affairs at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA). The house builder Taylor Wimpey is being accused of breaking its promise to help thousands of homeowners who were sold leasehold homes with controversial clauses that see their ground rent double every ten years. The company announced in April that it was setting aside £130m to compensate those affected, but homeowners say they have so far received no help. Some even say their ground rents have already doubled for the first time. Money Box reporter Tony Bonsignore investigates. Lloyds Bank is to overhaul the way it charges for overdrafts. All existing overdraft charges will be scrapped and replaced with a single fee of 1p per day for every £7 of overdraft used. From November, the changes will affect twenty million accounts with Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. We hear from Steve Smith, director at Lloyds Banking Group and Gareth Shaw, editor of Which? Money. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Paul Waters.

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Money Box Live: The Taylor Review  

Matthew Taylor takes your calls and e-mails about his plans for a better workplace. Call 03700 100 444 from 1-3.30pm on Wednesday 12 July or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your questions. Paul Lewis presents. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply.

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Car Finance, House Prices and Energy Caps  

The Bank of England is warning companies who offer finance deals to buy cars to make sure any loan is properly sold and that it takes account of affordability. The Bank is concerned about the rising amount of debt consumers are taking on to buy new vehicles. British motorists currently owe £58 billion on the cars they drive, and there are concerns that if too many default on car loans, another debt crisis could follow. An experienced car salesman has told Money Box that some dealerships are paying high commission to staff who sell a finance deal as well as a car. Commission payments have often been the cause of mis-selling scandals. Money Box reporter Tony Bonsignore investigates! Newspaper headlines this week have been shouting about a crash in the housing market. Massive collapse! Property prices could plunge! We hear from the man quoted in many of those stories, Professor Paul Cheshire of the London School of Economics, (who is not too pleased with how his thoughts have been represented) about what he thinks does lie ahead for house prices. And from property market analyst Kate Faulkner on the picture across the UK, and the housing bubble you may have missed. The Energy regulator Ofgem is consulting on a new price cap on electricity and gas bills, but only for some people on the highest tariffs. It's also bringing in new measures it says will boost competition and make switching easier - but will consumers still see the cheapest deals? We hear from Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem's senior partner for consumers and competition, about who might be helped and how, and what streamlined switching could actually mean in practice. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Paul Waters Editor: Andy Smith.

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Money Box Live: Childcare Costs  

Louise Cooper and guests discuss childcare costs and the schemes which can help. Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 5 July or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your questions and stories. A part time childcare place can cost around £6,000 per year say the Family and Childcare Trust. To help with the bill a new Tax Free Childcare scheme began in April and some working parents could receive 30 hours of free childcare from September. Add in Childcare Tax Credits and Vouchers and you need to think carefully about which will leave you better off. Some nursery providers have warned that they will be forced to raise fees or charge for additional services if there's high demand for the free 30-hours. Let us know if you've been asked to pay new or extra costs. If you've got a question about how it all works, which you can apply for or want to share your experience of paying for childcare we'd love to hear from you. Joining Louise Cooper to talk it over are: Aoife Hamilton, Policy & Information Manager, Employers For Childcare. Ellen Broomé, Chief Executive, Family and Childcare Trust. Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Pre-school Learning Alliance Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 5 July. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences.

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Is dynamic pricing coming to a supermarket near you?  

Following an investigation that lasted 18 months The Financial Conduct Authority has released its final report on the asset management industry. The money that firms in the sector handle is connected to the millions of people who invest their savings through financial products such as stocks and shares ISAs or investment funds. The FCA has called for fund managers to be much clearer about the charges their clients are paying. Guests: Chris Cummings, CEO of trade body the Investment Association and Gina Miller, Founding Partner of SCM Direct and fee transparency campaigner. Pricing services according to the level of demand is a common experience when booking a flight or holiday. Are similar methods set to be applied to the cost of your grocery shop? Food retailers have been looking at electronic price labels which, unlike paper ones, can have the details changed without having to be removed and replaced. Money Box listener John has a pension. In March 2016 he started the process of transferring it to another provider. After 15 months and a lot of expired paperwork his transfer still hasn't happened. How long should it take to transfer a pension? Guests: Romi Savova, Chief Executive of the PensionBee online pensions manager and Michelle Cracknell Chief Executive of The Pensions Advisory Service. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Buy to Let  

Louise Cooper would like to hear your views, experiences and questions about being a buy to let landlord. Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 28 June or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk now. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. The end of mortgage interest relief, the loss of the so called wear and tear allowance and additional stamp duty charges on new property purchases may mean that landlords have to rethink their financial plans. Some landlords are being encouraged to set up a limited company to avoid the charges but how does it work and could it end up costing you more? Stricter mortgage affordability assessments will also apply to landlords who own four or more properties from September 2017, limiting the overall amount you can borrow. And what are the rules about tax and mortgages if you're a landlord thinking of letting a property through Airbnb? Joining Louise Cooper to talk through the business of buy to let will be: Carolyn Uphill, Chairman, National Landlords Association. Anil Mohanlal , Chartered Accountant and Managing Partner, Kumar & Co. David Hollingworth, from Mortgage Broker London and Country. We'd love to hear your ideas. Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 28 June. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences. Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Diane Richardson Editor: Andrew Smith.

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The Queen's Speech and your money  

The Queen's Speech set out the Bills the Government intends to pass over one long Parliamentary session lasting two years. Many Conservative manifesto pledges were absent, among them a cap on energy bills, ending the State Pension "triple lock" and means testing the winter fuel payment in England and Wales. John Cullinane, Tax Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation explains what has and hasn't changed and Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Greenwich examines the new Smart Meter Bill. David Jackson, Head of National Planning at Savills Property Group explains his research into planning permissions for new homes. It suggests they're being concentrated in the wrong areas, where there's less need for housing. A defined benefit pension pays retirement income which is related to pay and length of time in the scheme. Since reforms in 2015, which allowed people over the age of 55 to release cash from their pensions, more people have been transferring out of defined benefit schemes. The FCA now plans to consult on how advice should be provided to people who are considering it. Former FCA Technical Specialist Rory Percival and Claire Trott, Head of Pensions Strategy with Technical Connection discuss. A group of single parents with a child under two have won a legal challenge against the government's benefit cap. It limits the total amount of benefit received to £20,000 a year except for in London where it's £23,000. To avoid it a lone parent must be able to work for at least 16 hours a week. A High Court judge said the limit was not meant to cover those households and failure to exclude them from the cap was discriminatory. Dalia Ben-Galim, Director of Policy at Gingerbread outlines what it means for lone parents.

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Money Box Live: Renting a Home.  

Is our rental market working well? Adam Shaw wants to hear your views about rents, deposits, fees and tenancy agreements, whatever's on your mind, call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 21 June. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences. Renting a home is the only option for growing numbers of people who are unable to buy a property. The number of privately rented homes has doubled over the last ten years and one in four are families with children, up from one in ten a decade ago, according to the English Housing Survey. Shelter and Generation Rent argue that the rental market needs to catch up with the changing needs of these long term tenants who want greater stability and security. Affordability is also an issue. On average, house buyers spend 18% of their household income on mortgage payments, social renters 28% and private renter 35%. Large deposits and additional fees add to the cost. On Wednesday's programme, Adam Shaw and guests explore the challenges facing private renters, ask how the system could be improved and find out about the overhaul planned in Scotland. On the panel will be: Seb Klier, Campaigns Manager, Generation Rent. David Cox, CEO, Association of Residential Letting Agents. Chris Town, Vice Chair. Residential Landlords Association. John Bibby, Senior Policy Officer, Shelter. We'd love to hear your views. Call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 21 June. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Diane Richardson Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Financial help for Grenfell Tower residents  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the related links section below. What financial help is available for the Grenfell Tower residents who survived the fire which destroyed their homes in the early hours of Wednesday morning? It's thought many of them didn't have contents insurance. Jolyon Maugham QC is among a group of lawyers offering free help to Grenfell residents and those who are raising funds to help them. In its annual review, the Financial Ombudsman Service noted a rise in the number of guarantor loan complaints. It's an unsecured form of high-cost credit which involves a second person, who is known to the borrower, agreeing to step in should a default occur. The Ombudsman says it's hearing more from guarantors who are being pursued by lenders to repay someone else's debt. Caroline Wayman, Chief Financial Ombudsman and Mike O'Connor, Chief Executive of StepChange debt charity discuss. One of the country's biggest teaching agencies has stopped using umbrella companies, which act as a third party between a contractor and an employee. It's advising workers to move back to PAYE instead. What behind the move and what are the wider implications for umbrella companies.

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Money Box Live: Tuition Fees  

The Labour Party manifesto pledge to abolish tuition fees in England and reintroduce maintenance grants has been credited with motivating young people to get out and vote in last week's General Election. So why are tuition fees and student debt such a concern? How does it all work, when do you have to repay and how could education be funded without them? Louise Cooper and guests explore student finance on today's programme and would like to hear your views. Louise Cooper is joined by: Sorana Vieru, Vice President, NUS Rachel Glover, National Association of Student Money Advisors Paul Johnson, Director, Institute of Fiscal Studies Ben Southwood, Head of Research, Adam Smith Institute Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Plenty to discuss and of course you can join in by calling 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 14 June. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk with your thoughts and experiences. Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Diane Richardson Editor: Andrew Smith.

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DUP policy on pensions and benefits plus 95% mortgages & tax-free childcare problems  

Now that Theresa May has lost her parliamentary majority, the Conservatives have opened negotiations with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to win enough support to give her a working Parliamentary majority. But there are significant policy differences between the two parties - on Universal Credit and the winter fuel allowance, for instance. We hear from former DUP Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, what his party might demand before doing a deal. The 95% mortgage is back. There are now nearly 300 of them on the market - the highest number for almost a decade. While young people in particular may see them as a golden opportunity to get on the housing ladder, some experts are warning that first time buyers could find themselves in negative equity. We hear from mortgage expert Ray Boulger from John Charcol and Caroline Hamilton of the Money Advice Service. The government's new tax-free childcare scheme promises that for every £80 you pay to a child minder or nursery, the government will top it up with another £20 - up to a maximum of £2000 per child. The scheme launched in April, with parents of under-fours invited to apply first. By the end of the year it's due to be open to all parents with children under the age of 12 - as long as they're working at least 16 hours a week, are not getting Tax Credits or Universal Credit, and are each earning less than £100,000 a year. It will ultimately replace the employer-led tax-free voucher system. But parents and nurseries report problems registering and using the payment system. Some say their money is trapped in the system. One nursery told us that problems with the system could force it to shut down. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Paul Waters.

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Money Box Live: Equity Release  

Equity release is a way that older homeowners can borrow against the value of their home or sell part of it in exchange for a cash lump sum or a regular income. Over £2bn was released from property in this way last year, frequently to clear a mortgage, pay off debt, provide a better retirement or to help children with a cash lump sum. But is this growing trend always a good idea or could it lead to future financial problems? Joining presenter Louise Cooper to explore the benefits, risks and costs of Equity Release on Wednesday 7 June will be: Dean Mirfin from Equity Release specialists Key Retirement. Annie Shaw, founder of financial advice website Cashquestions.com We'd also love to hear your questions and experiences. Call 03700 100 444 from 1pm to 3:30pm on Wednesday 7 June, standard geographic call charges apply. Or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk now.

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