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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 13:07 GMT
State pension reform
A female pensioner
BBC Radio 4's Money Box Saturday 2 December 1204 GMT
Sunday 3 December 2102 GMT
On Radio 4 and Online

The government's plans for reform of the state pension system have finally been published following several years of consultation and debate.

Among the proposals are plans to raise the state pension age to 68; the restoration of the earnings link, and a reduction in the number of years it takes to build a full basic pension.

But pensioners' groups have criticised the plans saying they do not go far enough and do nothing to help today's pensioners.

On Money Box on Saturday we spoke to Pensions Reform Minister James Purnell about the plans.

Further information:


Farepak factory
Christmas savings club Farepak went into administration in October
The fund set up to compensate people after the collapse of the Christmas savings scheme Farepak has closed.

Meanwhile, thousands of agents and customers who paid Farepak on credit and debit cards are eligible for a full refund but it appears many still have not applied for one.

Bob Howard reported on whether the banks are doing enough to help customers claim back their money.

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Doorstep lending

A man collects money from a woman at home
Loan repayments are normally collected from the customer's home

There was some disappointment this week when the Competition Commission announced it would not put any limits on the interest rates charged by doorstep lenders.

Instead it will try to bring competition to the market by ordering home credit lenders to share borrowers' records with high street banks and give clearer information to customers.

We spoke to Damon Gibbons of Debt on our Doorstep, Peter Freeman of the Competition Commission and Ed Mayo of the National Consumer Council.

Savings rates

The bank of England raised the base rate to 5% last month

Savers with ING Direct have expressed anger over the bank's decision not to pass on the latest interest rate rise.

It has chosen instead to keep its rate at 4.75% as it said customers prefer their savings to be earning consistently.

We spoke to Martin Rutland from ING about the bank's decision.

Further information:

Strong pound

Twenty pound note
Sterling has been boosted by recent UK interest rate rises

The pound hit a 14 year high against the dollar this week amid speculation of another UK rate rise in January.

This is good news for UK shoppers planning to travel to New York or other US cities to buy Christmas presents.

We asked Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent how much you can bring back and whether you can also shop online.

Further information:

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Reporter: Bob Howard

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