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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Friday, 13 January 2006

The Pensions Regulator

Where are the best deals for your savings at the start of 2006?

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 7 January, 2006, at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 8 January, 2006, at 2102 GMT.

The Pensions Regulator has been playing down its powers after concerns it has begun forcing companies to plug their pension deficits.

In the first case of its kind, lingerie maker Sherwood Group has been told to inject 7.5m into its pension fund before launching a share buyback.

Employers' groups have expressed dismay at the development.

To discuss this we speak to June Mulroy of the Pensions Regulator; Carol Duncumb, CEO of the Sherwood Group, and Francois Barker, from the Pensions Working Group at the CBI.

Further information:

FSA fines insurer over endowments

FSA headquarters
The fine is the fourth imposed by the FSA for mishandling complaints
Another major insurer has been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds for the way it has handled mortgage endowments complaints.

The 750,000 fine has been imposed on Guardian Assurance for exposing 5,600 consumers to a high risk of financial loss after it changed the way it dealt with complaints in January 2003.

We speak to Louise Hanson of Which? and Margaret Cole, Director of Enforcement at the Financial Services Authority.

Further information:

Self assessment

HMRC in London
Almost 10 million self-assessment tax returns were issued in 2004-05
The deadline for self assessment forms is looming, and anyone that misses it could face a fine and interest on the tax they owe.

And the number of taxpayers who do miss the deadline is growing, up from 900,000 in 1999 to nearly a million last year.

We speak to John Whiting of accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Further information:

Tax Credits

A mother and daughter
Concerns have grown that tax credit problems have caused hardship
A parliamentary inquiry into the administration of the tax credits system has begun, with MPs hearing evidence of the problems they have caused.

The system has been highly controversial since it was introduced, especially after it was revealed billions of pounds had been overpaid, and the government was intent on clawing the money back.

Bob Howard attended the Treasury hearing.

Personal loans

What are the best-buy loans at the moment?
Competition in the personal loan market has been has been heating up with Cahoot and Nationwide launching headline rates in the last few days.

But are those offers as good as they look? We ask Brian Brown, Associate Director of the research company Defaqto.

Further information:

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Louise Greenwood
Reporter: Bob Howard

Money Box



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