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  

New rules imposed on payday lenders by the regulator which included capping the amount people were charged so they never have to pay more than double what they borrowed, have been in force since Jan 2015. Since then, the number of people going to Citizens Advice for help with these kinds of debts has fallen by more than a half. But is it all good news for borrowers? Should the regulator now look to regulate other forms of high cost credit?

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GB Energy collapses, An investment fund based on gambling, Banking fraud  

Now that GB Energy has gone bust, what does it mean for its 160,000 customers? We hear what lies ahead for them at Co-operative Energy which has been appointed by the regulator Ofgem to take over GB Energy's business. We also ask if Co-operative Energy will be able to cope with such a sudden huge influx of new clients, especially given the criticism they have received for poor customer service in the past. And does this put a chill on competition in the energy supply market? Is it worth switching to smaller suppliers which may not survive a winter of rising energy prices? Or does the industry safety net mean that searching for the best deal is still a wise move? Also - with almost six million fraud and cyber crimes committed last year in England and Wales, we hear from Martin Emms, cyber security researcher at Newcastle University. He reveals how thieves can crack your credit card details using just a laptop and a bit of savvy, to launch a distributed guessing attack and transfer your money abroad. And Ruth Evans, chair of the Payments Strategy Forum, explains proposals to make your credit transfers, direct debits and standing orders more secure. But will they really stump the fraudsters who often seem to be at least a step ahead? And a multi-million pound investment scheme called The Winning Express has collapsed, leaving more than a thousand investors out of pocket. It was endorsed by footballers and based on gambling. Victims claim that the authorities failed to properly investigate despite repeated warnings. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Paul Waters.

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Money Box Live: Transforming the NHS  

New plans to transform the NHS over the next five years have been published. The BBC's Lesley Curwen takes a detailed look at the numbers and asks whether the figures are adding up. Is there money to make the necessary changes to reduce seemingly ever escalating demand for hospital care? Can the NHS afford to do nothing? With a panel of especially invited guests and on location interviews from Birmingham, Money Box investigates. Do you work in the NHS? What do you think of the plans? Call us between 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 30th November on 03700 100 444. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply, or email us on moneybox@bbc.co.uk or by tweeting us @moneybox.

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Your insurance premium tax is set to rise. Again.  

A tax which is added to many insurance policies including for pets, cars and home contents is set to rise again. Insurance Premium Tax will rise from 10% to 12% from June next year. Policyholders pay it but rarely see it listed on their bills. Around 28,000 families on low incomes who have a disabled child missed out on up to £4400 in tax credits between 2011 to 2014. The omission was due to a "gap in the data feed" between the Department of Work and Pensions and HMRC. The extra money due will be only be backdated to April this year. A new government savings bond launches next year. It will pay 2.2% on up to £3,000. Anna Bowes from Savings Champion discusses what savers should consider and also looks at plans to raise the Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limit for deposits back to £85,000 from next year. People on average earnings in auto enrolment pension schemes will need to increase their minimum contribution level to 12% of their pay if they want to secure an adequate income in retirement. That's the view from a report by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. The current rate of saving is nominally 2% and is due to rise to a nominal 8% by 2019. The contribution rate is divided between employer and employee - could a 12% rise be a cost too far for small business and workers on low wages? This week's Autumn Statement confirmed significant changes to salary sacrifice schemes where workers exchange some of their pay in return for goods and services like gym memberships, childcare, computers and mobile phone deals. From next April most of these schemes will be subject to the same tax treatment as cash income.

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Money Box Live: Autumn Statement 2016 -what's in it for you?  

Autumn Statement 2016. Paul Lewis and a panel of experts look at the detail of Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer and assess the impact it will have on your personal finances. The end to letting agents fees, a reduction to the Universal Credit taper rate - what other help is there be for the 'JAMs'? Then there's also fuel duty, salary sacrifice perks and the safety of the triple lock? With Paul in the studio answering your questions are: - Tina Riches, National Tax Partner at Smith & Williamson. - Adam Challis, Head of Residential Research JLL, one of the UK's largest property firms. - Tom Selby, Senior Analyst AJ Bell. - Dr Phil Agulnik, Director at entitledto.com 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. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Alex Lewis + Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Energy savings that disappear  

The savings that energy companies promise customers are in many cases fictional and never will materialise. Those are the findings of a Money Box investigation. We found that the savings energy companies have been quoting to urge large numbers of customers to switch tariffs are phantom and can never be achieved. We have discovered that this is down to the way that Ofgem makes suppliers and comparison websites work out potential savings using the standard variable tariff as a basis for comparison even though customers may not even be on it. This week the Financial Conduct Authority outlined a new approach for regulating the promotion and distribution of Lifetime ISAs which will be available from April 2017. LISAs are intended to allow people aged under-40 to save for a home and retirement simultaneously with a cash bonus worth up to £1,000 a year being added to every £4,000 saved in to the scheme. Lifetime ISAs have come under criticism from the industry so will this new approach make any difference? As of next spring the UK will have a new main measure of inflation. The Consumer Price Inflation including Housing (CPIH) includes the costs of owner-occupied housing. We discuss its pros and cons. And Sweden's central bank is currently considering launching a digital currency in a move away from hard cash. We ask the bank's Deputy Governor how a central bank supported digital currency could work and what challenges it would create. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Michael Robinson Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Power of Attorney - Your Questions Answered  

A power of attorney is a means of granting legal permission for one or more people to manage and make financial decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. It can be temporary or permanent and the rules surrounding how it works and what it covers can vary in different parts of the UK. Whether you're considering setting up a power of attorney, or if you manage one but are having problems exercising it with a bank or building society, we'd like to hear from you. Send your questions, experiences or views by e-mail now to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 16 November you can also call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Guests: Sandra McDonald, Public Guardian Scotland Holly Chantler, Board Member Solicitors for the Elderly and Partner Morrisons Solicitors George McNamara, Head of Policy, Alzheimer's Society Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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'Bedroom tax' win  

Two families with disabled members won cases in the Supreme Court this week, overturning a reduction in their benefits because they had what the Government considered to be too many bedrooms. Will this ruling have lasting consequences? Around 9000 customers of Tesco Bank have had their money returned after thieves took hundreds, in some cases thousands, of pounds from their current accounts. But will Tesco be compensating customers as well as returning their own money? Royal Bank of Scotland announced this week it would compensate thousands of business customers who say it reclaimed loans and took their assets instead of supporting them through the financial crisis eight years ago. It's so-called Global Restructuring Group is accused of buying assets cheaply from firms it claimed to be helping. Many have gone bust and their directors have lost their homes. Do RBS's actions go far enough? Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Alex Lewis Reporter: Lee Kumutat Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Vanguard founder John Bogle who revolutionised fund management, gives his first UK broadcast interview  

In 1975 John Bogle founded Vanguard, a fund management company. Since then it has grown into the second largest fund manager in the world, overseeing more than $3.5 trillion. He is also credited with revolutionising the sector, driving down costs and boosting returns to savers thanks to two innovations. He created the first passive fund which invests in all shares in a stock market index, thereby not needing to pay fund managers to actively decide which shares to buy and sell. Secondly, he set up Vanguard as a mutual - owned by those who give it money to invest - thereby not needing to pay dividends to external shareholders. In this edition of Money Box Live, John Bogle gives his first UK broadcast interview to Louise Cooper. We also hear criticisms of the passive approach - that it is insufficiently nimble to avoid over-exposure to stock bubbles and that it does too little to hold the management of companies in which it invests to account - over executive pay, for instance. Also on the programme: - Saker Nusseibeh from Hermes Investment Management - Andrew Clare, Deputy Dean and Chair of Asset Management of Cass Business School - Ben Johnson. Director of Global Exchange-Traded Funds research for the independent investment research provider Morningstar. Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Paul Waters.

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Energy prices, Car insurance, Interest-only mortgages, Peer-to-peer lending  

The consumer organisation Which? says energy companies are still doing too little to ensure existing customers are on the best rates - costing them £100s a year. However, Energy UK, which speaks on behalf of the energy companies, says they are already working to implement remedies ordered by the Competition and Markets Authority. We hear from Which? and Energy UK. In a flurry of publicity this week, Admiral announced, then postponed, then scaled back what would have been an innovative new way to calculate car insurance risk for young drivers based on their personalities. The original plan was to search the Facebook posts of first time car insurance customers to assess whether they were safe drivers, and then offer them discounted premiums. Facebook put the brake on that, but we look into the other new developments using social media in the insurance sector. Is it too Big Brother? Or is anything that helps personalise premiums a good thing? We hear from insurance tech expert Greg Brown of Oxbow Partners. Money Box listeners have complained of problems with their interest only mortgages. We look at what the rules were, depending when you took out your mortgage, and what recourse you have now. And the Financial Ombudsman has raised concerns about the peer to peer lending sector. Do investors fully understand what they're getting into? Should the sector be regulated like the banks? We hear from Rhydian Lewis of Ratesetter and Dr Roger Gewolb of the Campaign for Fair Finance. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Paul Waters.

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Money Box Live: Is the Consumer Complaints Process Clear or Too Complex?  

Alternative Dispute Resolution came into effect in the UK just over a year ago as part of the Consumer Rights Act. The intention was to ensure that in situations where disputes between traders and consumers cannot be resolved directly the matter can still be settled without having to pay to go to court. It involves an independent third party looking at the problem and trying to find a solution. Louise Cooper and guests discuss Alternative Dispute Resolution - has it made the process of escalating complaints clearer or more complex for consumers to understand? Send your questions, experiences or views by e-mail to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 2 November you can also call 03700 100 444. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Guests:James Walker founder and CEO, resolver.co.uk Andy Allen Service Director, Chartered Trading Standards Institute Dr Naomi Creutzfeldt, lecturer, University of Westminster Donal Galligan, Director,Ombudsman Association.

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Interest-only mortgages  

In 2014, excluding buy-to-let, there were around 2.8 million interest-only mortgages outstanding within the UK. Borrowers pay interest on the loan, then the capital has to be paid back when the mortgage term ends. The popularity of that type of mortgage has fallen significantly over the years, however most lenders will have borrowers still on those deals. Some of those customers may find themselves in a situation where they don't have a plan in place to repay the outstanding capital. We hear from Christine who is facing a £150,000 repayment after her interest-only deal with Santander expired. Dean Mirfin, Group and Technical Director with Key Retirement discusses the wider issues around interest-only mortgages and potential options that may be available for people who are unable to repay. Following requests from several Money Box listeners, we look at the problems they've experienced following a revamp of the John Lewis Partnership Credit Card website. The latest figures from HMRC reveal that since the start of pension freedom in April 2015, half a million people have withdrawn £7.6 billion from their pension funds. It comes as separate figures suggest that the number of reported pension fraud losses is higher that previous estimates. How are people spending their drawdowns and what are the good and bad consequences of pension freedom? Michelle Cracknell, Chief Executive of the Pensions Advisory Service and Tom Selby, Senior Analyst at AJ Bell discuss. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK outlines the charity's investigation into the problems and fears older tenants face when it comes to challenging their poor living conditions. It wants more protection for vulnerable older private renters.

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Money Box Live: Inflation  

With inflation on the rise, Adam Shaw and an expert panel discuss the consequences and likely impact on the prices we pay in the shops, our wages and the broader UK economy. What caused last month's rise and is it a trend which will continue? What impact will a weakening pound have on the imported food and other goods we rely on? Will employers raise salaries to compensate? And what will the broader impact be as the economy comes to terms with a future outside of the EU? The panel includes Diana Wehrle, from high street retail analysts Spring Board, Laura Gardiner from the Resolution Foundation, James Athey from Aberdeen Asset management and Michael Martins from the Institute of Directors.

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Annuity Selling and Mis-Selling  

More than 100,000 savers may be due compensation due to the way they were sold annuities. If you think you might be one of them, what should you do? Stephen Bayliss of the Better Retirement Group explains. A new report claims that defined benefit pension schemes are in extremely good financial shape. If that's the case why do we always seem to be hearing about deficits and disaster? Rob Hammond, a Partner at First Actuarial, and Professor David Blake, Director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, discuss. Asking job seekers to attend regular meetings, hit certain targets and then imposing benefit sanctions on those who don't could be counterproductive. That's according to a new report from the Behavioural Insights Team, the so called Nudge Unit. Paul speaks to its chief-executive David Halpern. And this week the government abandoned plans to let pensioners raise money by selling their annuities. But the former pensions minister Ros Altmann tells Moneybox why she believes some of those who bought annuities worth less than £10,000 may still be able to sell. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Ed Davey Producer: Joe Kent Editor: Richard Vadon.

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Money Box Live: Road Charges  

Parking levies, congestion charges, roads with tolls - these are just a few ideas for ways to help ease and maintain our clogged roads. Adam Shaw and guests discuss whether levying these 'additional' taxes on car users is an effective way to reduce congestion and improve transport. Do they work? Are they fair? We hear from Nottingham where a controversial workplace parking levy has been in place since 2012. It costs £375 per space and in the last year has raised £9.3m towards improving public transport in the city. Has it been worth it? Send your questions, experiences or views by e-mail to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 19 October you can also call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Presenter: Adam Shaw Reporter: Verity Cowley Producers: Alex Lewis and Lee Kumutat Editor: Richard Vadon.

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Fees charged even with no sale  

Be warned! Many of the growing number of online estate agents will charge customers even when they fail to sell the property. It's a business model which catches some customers unawares - they may be more used to the "commission-on-sale" system of charging used by more traditional estate agents. John Cridland the former head of the business organisation the CBI is currently reviewing State Pension Age for the Government. He's just published his interim report. We look at what his proposed changes may mean for the pensioners of the future. The leading debt charity StepChange is calling on the Financial Conduct Authority to cap fees on unarranged overdrafts. Research by consumer group Which? has recently shown that overdrafts can be more expensive than payday loans. We speak to Labour MP Rachel Reeve who has been campaigning on this issue. Plus, we attempt to solve the mystery of the disappearing Nationwide posters. Could it be that their savings rates are so low they're too embarrassed to display them in public? Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Ed Davey Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Can children's attitudes to money shape their adult financial lives?  

Getting children engaged in understanding money can take many forms - from putting coins into a piggy bank to paying into a savings account. For many young adults credit and debt take over as a financial priority. The Step Change debt charity says it has seen an increase in the number of under 25-year-olds calling its helpline. Adam Shaw and guests discuss the extent to which family attitudes towards cash and debt can influence the financial habits of their children in later life. What are the factors which might improve or derail those habits? Do parents help or hinder the process? Send your questions, experiences or views by e-mail to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 12 October you can also call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Guests: Dr Elizabeth Kilbey consultant clinical psychologist, Robert Gardner financial planner and the co-founder of Redstart, the financial education and entrepreneurship programme for young people Peter Tutton Head of Policy at Step Change Debt charity Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Lower energy bills? Use a spreadsheet!  

This week Prime Minister Theresa May strongly hinted of government intervention in the energy market as part of her closing address to the Conservative Party Conference. She said it was 'not right' that two thirds of energy customers are stuck on the most expensive tariffs. We speak to Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK about Theresa May's threat to intervene. We also meet serial switcher Peter Nadin, who eschews the use of price comparison websites in favour of negotiating with energy companies direct. The former Pensions Minister Steve Webb has written a guide to help people who were 'contracted out' top up their State Pension at bargain rates. It's a complex area so can anyone understand it other than him? We get Money Box listener Dave Hoddell to road test his guide. And Talk Talk have been fined for failing to protect Talk Talk customer data but customers are still receiving phone calls from criminals posing as Talk Talk customer service staff. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Alex Lewis Reporter: Ed Davey Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Who needs a bank branch?  

Last year over than 681 bank branches closed in the UK compared with 500 the year before. There are now fewer than 9,000 branches and more closures are expected to follow. A common explanation from banks is that the change reflects the fall in demand caused by customers who find it more convenient to manage their money by telephone, online or by using smartphone banking apps. The issue was recently raised during a debate in Parliament where MP's raised concerns about the impact of a lack of access to local banking services on small business owners, rural communities and pensioners. Do you need a bank branch? When was the last time you visited one? Send your questions, experiences or views on the relevance of bank branches by e-mail to moneybox@bbc.co.uk. From 1pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 5 October you can call 03700 100 444, standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Guests: David Cavell, independent banking consultant, Ben Baruch, Policy Adviser, Federation of Small Businesses, Anne Boden, Chief Executive Starling Bank. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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The energy deals which cut customers off  

Existing energy customers with E.ON, SSE, EDF and British Gas have found themselves locked out of attractively priced tariffs because those deals are only available to new joiners. In 2014, following a series of energy mis-selling scandals, Ofgem created a rule which effectively banned suppliers from excluding existing customers. However in April this year the regulator announced that it no longer planned to enforce that rule, meaning a new generation of tariffs which ignore existing customers have surfaced. A group comprising some of the UK's main regulators has released its report into price comparison websites. The UK Regulators Network which includes Ofcom, The Financial Conduct Authority and Ofgem found many consumers don't understand exactly how the sites make money from them. It comes as the Competition and Markets Authority launches its own review into whether price comparison sites actually benefit consumers. Adam Shaw hears from Dermot Nolan CEO of Ofgem who is also Chair of the UK Regulators Network. Deutsche Bank, which is one of the biggest lenders in Germany, is in crisis. The US Department of Justice wants £10.8 billion from it for mis-selling mortgage secured bonds before the 2008 financial crash happened. Peter Hahn, Henry Grunfeld Professor of Banking at the London Institute of Banking and Finance, discusses. Presenter: Adam Shaw Reporter: Michael Robinson Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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