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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 15:22 GMT
Benefits take-up
The Kent Benefit Partnerships literature
The Kent Benefits Partnership's approach appears to be working
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 12 February 2005, at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 13 February, 2005, at 2102 GMT.

Around four in 10 pensioners are not claiming the reduction in council tax benefit they are entitled to, according to government figures published this week.

Despite years of government campaigns to get people to claim, the number of people who fail to do so keeps growing.

But a new regional project, the Kent Benefits Partnership, has proved very successful at tackling the problem locally.

Paul Lewis went to Kent to find out more.

Further information:

Phone "slamming"

There is increasing competition amongst telephone companies to provide fixed line services. But is there a danger that some consumers are being switched to new providers without their permission?

Money Box heard from one unhappy customer and talked to Ofcom about its plans to tighten up the rules in this area.

Further information:

Basic bank accounts

One in 12 people England do not have a bank account, and in Scotland that number is even higher, with one in four financially excluded.

In the chancellor's Pre-Budget speech in December he made it a priority to reduce that figure, and around 5.5m people now have a basic bank account.

But critics have argued the accounts are too limited to be useful, and that banks are not promoting them properly.

Samantha Washington reported.

Further information:

Allders cuts 680 jobs

Administrators for Allders, Kroll, announced nearly 700 job losses on Friday, on top of the 130 that have already gone.

But Kroll has said it will continue to make contributions to the company's pension fund - which is thought to have a deficit of around 70m - until June.

If the scheme was then wound up, members should be eligible for help under the Pension Protection Fund, which starts in April.

Further information:

MPs' warning over disconnections

MPs have warned gas and electricity companies may lose the power to disconnect customers who cannot pay their bills.

The Trade and Industry Committee said suppliers must take all reasonable steps to help customers pay their bills.

In 2003 nearly 16,000 gas customers and around 1,400 electricity customers had their supply cut for non-payment of their bill.

Further information:

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Reporter: Samantha Washington

Money Box



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