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 reality of financial exclusion  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the related links section below. Millions of people in the UK are left out when it comes to accessing basic financial services like bank accounts and loans. It means many low income households find themselves turning to, and relying on, higher cost alternatives. The House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion has been investigating possible ways of tackling the issue. Its Chair Baroness Tyler of Enfield outlines the report findings and recommendations and we also hear from Damon Gibbons, Director of the Centre for Responsible Credit. The author of the government's first independent review into the future of the state pension age speaks to Money Box. John Cridland also explains why he decided not to go ahead with a variable age recommendation which might have made it possible for some people to retire earlier. The Lifetime ISA aimed at helping people to build up a first home deposit or save towards their retirement is due to launch on April 6. How does it work, what are the risks and why will savers struggle to find one when it goes live? Tom Selby, Senior Analyst at AJ Bell discusses.

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Money Box Live: Death Taxes  

Despite the pressures on social care, Phillip Hammond specifically ruled out a Labour-style 'death tax' to pay for it in the Budget. That is, a charge on estates to help pay the growing cost of providing care. But has Spreadsheet Phil been a little hasty? With rises in income tax, VAT and National Insurance contributions also ruled out, the government is running out places to look for additional funding to plug the gap. So what is the answer and why are death taxes so politically toxic? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Email: moneybox@bbc.co.uk or tweet: @moneybox. You can call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 22 March. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Backlog builds ahead of probate changes  

From May the cost of sorting out the estate of someone who has died will increase from a maximum of £215 to £20,000. The changes were part of a government consultation last year which they've pressed ahead despite huge opposition. Lawyers say these changes are unfair and will cause real hardship for many who will be unable to raise the money to pay the fees months before the estate is sorted out. They are also concerned about the backlog building as families try to sort the admin out ahead of the start date. Thousands of freelance contractors face bills of hundreds of millions of pounds from the HMRC for using tax-free loans that helped them to reduce their tax and National Insurance payments. And the Chancellor may have u-turned on increasing National Insurance Contributions for some self-employed - but not the poorest who will face a £600 increase in their contributions from April. Presenter: Paul Lewis Producer: Tony Bonsignore Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Finances behing bars  

Around 50% of offenders re-offend within a year. Lack of money for basic necessities can increase the risk of re-offending. The first few weeks after release from prison are critical. Many prisons offer some sort of basic financial advice to help ex-offenders navigate life on the outside but recent changes mean provision can be patchy. So what can you expect? How difficult is it to get your foot back on the financial ladder with a criminal record? And could business be doing more to get ex-offenders back into employment? Also, you can work and earn a wage but where does your money go and what is there to spend it on in prison anyway? Email: moneybox@bbc.co.uk or, from 1 pm on Wednesday, you can call the programme on 03 700 100 444 if you'd like to contribute. Standard geographic charges apply. Presenter: Adam Shaw Producer: Alex Lewis Editor: Richard Vadon.

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National insurance and self-employment  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the related links section below. Millions of self-employed workers were at the centre of plans announced in this week's Budget to increase National Insurance contribution rates. Chancellor Philip Hammond said it would create a fairer system. The Class 4 contribution is set to rise from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and to 11% in 2019. Employees pay 12%. Stephen Relf, Senior Tax Analyst at Wolters Kluwer and Helen Miller, Associate Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies examine the implications of the change. Also contained in the budget were proposals to protect people being caught out by subscription fee charges when free trials come to an end and £5m has been set aside to fund paid placements for people returning to work. The findings of an academic study in the Netherlands on smart meters sparks interest after researchers say they found inaccurate electricity usage readings with one meter overstating actual consumption by 582%. We hear from Professor Frank Leferink from the University of Twente, who conducted the study and Howard Porter, Chief Executive of Beama, the UK trade association for manufacturers of electro-technical equipment, including smart meters. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Spring Budget 2017  

Paul Lewis and guests decipher what impact the Budget might have on your finances. Paul is joined by: Claire Walsh: Chartered Financial Planner at Aspect8 Tina Riches: National Tax Partner at Smith & Williamson Tom McPhail: Head of Retirement Policy at Hargreaves Lansdown Email your questions to moneybox@bbc.co.uk or, from 1 pm on Wednesday, you can call the programme on 03 700 100 444. Standard geographic charges apply.

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Pubs clubs and workplace pensions  

Business owners who employ transient staff on non-standard contracts want to see changes to the scheme that automatically enrols eligible employees into workplace pension schemes. They say it's expensive and fails to reflect more modern ways of working. The Pensions Regulator has identified the hospitality sector as "an area of higher risk of non-compliance" with auto-enrolment. Should certain industries be exempt from workplace pension duties? Guest: Steve Webb, Royal London Director of Policy. Firms and individuals in Sweden have been willingly overpaying their taxes. The excess cash from that accounts for almost half of the country's Skr85bn budget surplus. Professor Lars Calmfors from the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm University explains what's behind it and why the Swedish government considers it to be a problem. Banks are stepping up measures to prevent their customers from taking out large amounts of cash to pay fraudsters. The joint bank, police and Trading Standards initiative enables branch staff to be more aware of potential fraud situations and provides a standard alert procedure. It's already been tested in London where it resulted in 14 arrests and one conviction. A formula used to calculate lump sum compensation payments for people with long-term injuries is being changed for the first time in 16 years. It means their payouts will increase, however insurers are warning customer premiums will also rise as a result. Huw Evans,Director General of the Association of British Insurers and Neil Sugarman, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers discuss. Presenter: Lesley Curwen Reporters: Jordan Dunbar and Tony Bonsignore Producer: Charmaine Cozier Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Money Box Live: Business rates - time for reform?  

Thousands of businesses in England and Wales are set to see dramatic changes to the amount they pay in business rates from April. After weeks of controversy, the government is under growing pressure to overhaul the rates system. But what could reform look like and how would it circumvent some of the unfairnesses of the current arrangement? If you are a business set to lose out or one that will benefit we'd love to hear your thoughts. Email: moneybox@bbc.co.uk or tweet: @moneybox. You can call 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 1 March. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. Also, what happens to the revenue raised by business rates is changing. From April 2019 local authorities will be able to keep 100% of proceeds. They will also have the power to cut (but not raise) rates. The hope is that this will drive competition between councils to attract new businesses to generate income. But will it work? Presenter: Louise Cooper Producer: Alex Lewis and Matthew Bardo Editor: Andrew Smith.

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Sanction busting  

More information on the stories featured in this week's edition of Money Box can be found in the Related Links section below. David Clapson was 59 when he died alone in his flat with no food, no electricity, and the insulin he relied on warming in his fridge above its safe maximum of 8C. A week earlier the £71.70 a week jobseekers allowance he relied on had been stopped. He had missed a meeting at the JobCentre. His death was recorded as due to natural causes. His sister Gill Thomson says she is fighting for an inquest. Paul Lewis talks to Frank Field MP who has this week demanded a yellow card system to give claimants time to appeal before their money is stopped. What do a Parent Teachers Association, a branch of the Royal British Legion, and a group of Methodist churches have in common? HSBC has closed their bank accounts after sending them lengthy forms about their activities and personnel. Oh, and they have not been involved in money laundering or terrorism. Has HSBC gone over the top after being fined £1.2bn in 2012 for being the Mexican drug cartels' local bank? It's not the children in daycare who will be spending their days jumping through hoops but their parents if they want to get the new 30 hours free daycare promised by the Government from September. Both need to work (just one if there is only one). They must earn at least £120 a week each but no more than £100,000 a year. They need to find care for the 14 weeks that schools are closed. Pay for extras like drinks, nappies, and snacks. And be prepared for higher fees for their 1 and 2 year-olds to help the nurseries break even. The new £1 coin will be launched on 28 March. The old one has lasted 34 years and you can still find original 1983 examples in your change. Or can you? No coin has been forged more and some 45 million of the coins in circulation are in fact fake. So the new one has numerous security features to defeat the coiners. It is the first twelve sided coin since the old threepenny bit - last seen in 1971. And in many ways very similar. Not least in value. In terms of prices the old 3d was worth about 75p today. But someone paid a brass 3d in their wage packet in 1937 when it was introduced would expect two of the new £1 coins for the same work today.

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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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