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Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 16:20 UK

Downturn day

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 25 October
at 1204 BST
On Radio 4 and Online

Britain has moved one step closer to being in recession, seeing the first quarterly fall in economic output for 16 years.

The official definition of a recession is two successive quarters of negative growth, and many economists are predicting that growth in the current quarter will also be negative.

Both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, have acknowledged a recession is almost inevitable.

So the question is - how deep will it be - and how long will it last?

Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank, joined us to discuss this.

Further information/related stories:

A terraced house
If you are in the red - losing your home should be the last option


One of the signs of the economic downturn is the rising number of people losing their home because they have fallen behind with their mortgage payments.

Earlier this week the government issued guidance to judges in an attempt to ease repossession rates.

Gordon Brown told the Commons that lenders would have to demonstrate to the courts that they had exhausted every avenue before pursuing struggling borrowers.

In an additional move, the government also announced that it plans to bring firms offering mortgage rescue schemes under the regulation of the city watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Bob Howard looked into the situation.

And we heard from Justice Minister Bridget Prentice and Mike Coogan of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Further information/related stories:

An older man and a woman sitting on a  bench by a beach
Only 35% of women qualify for the full state pension, but 90% of men

Women's pensions

A change to the Pensions Bill which goes through the Lords on Monday could mean thousands more people, mainly women, will be entitled to the full state pension when they retire.

Soon, as a result of this amendment, many women who gave up work to care for children and therefore did not make sufficient National Insurance payments, will be able to "buy back" up to 12 years of contributions.

Some lobby groups, such as Age Concern, have welcomed the move but Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention told us why she felt that those most in need might not get help.

And we talked to Rosie Winterton, Minister for Pensions, and Baroness Hollis, who campaigned on the issue.

Further information/related stories:

Ten pound note frozen in ice
UK customers hope to recover their deposits from Icesave
Icelandic banks

About two hundred and thirty thousand Icesave account holders will soon be contacted about how to claim compensation after the collapse of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will launch the process in 10 days and the first payments are scheduled to start in the second week of November.

Money Box spoke to Jonathan Clark, director of claims at the FSCS, to get the latest details.

Further information/related stories:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 2102 GMT.

External internet links
25 Oct 08 |  Moneybox

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