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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Rate cut ramifications

The Bank of England
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 6 December
at 1204 BST
On Radio 4 and Online

The Bank of England has cut interest rates by one percentage point, from 3% to 2% - the lowest level since 1951.

The move, which followed a dramatic rate slash in November, has been welcomed by many commentators who say this should help the slowing economy.

However, other economists argue this may not help in the long term.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged lenders to pass on the cut to homeowners and business.

Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners joins us to unpack the economic data.

Further information/related stories:

Pie chart showing proportions of UK mortgages that are fixed-rate, discounted or standard variable
Many tracker and variable rate mortgage holders may benefit

The prime minister is urging banks to pass on the full 1% cut in interest rates to their mortgage customers.

The UK's two biggest mortgage lenders - Halifax and Nationwide - are not passing the entire reduction on to homeowners with standard variable rate loans.

Borrowers with other banks including HSBC and Lloyds TSB will benefit from the full cut, while some lenders have yet to announce whether they will be passing the reduction on to their customers.

There has also been controversy over a different type of mortgage deal - the tracker which tracks the official bank rate.

Melanie Bien, a director of the mortgage broker Savills Private finance and Michael Coogan, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) explain the latest developments.

Further information/related stories:

A boarded-up window
The CML says there could be 75,000 repossessions next year
Mortgage help

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown has announced further help for thousands of people struggling with mortgage payments.

Some people hit by the downturn will be able to defer part of their mortgage interest payments for up to two years.

The plan is aimed to give those who lose their jobs or suffer a big cut in income, a breathing space if they are facing repossession.

The scheme will cover mortgages worth up to 400,000.

We hear more from Louise Cumming of, Melanie Bien, of Savills Private finance and Michael Coogan director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Further information/related stories:

FSA logo
The FSA stopped London Scottish accepting deposits
London Scottish

Earlier this week one of Britain's smallest banks - London Scottish - was put into administration after the city watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), stepped in saying the bank did not have enough cash to keep operating.

The Manchester-based firm has 10,000 depositors and 70,000 borrowers - either paying off mortgages or small loans.

So what are the implications for the bank's customers?

Jonathan Clark, director of claims at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provides an update.

He also outlines the latest news on how many customers of the failed Icelandic internet bank, Icesave, have now received compensation from the FSCS.

Further information/related stories:

Andy and Katie
Andy and Katie risk being evicted due to their landlord's arrears
Repossession and tenants

Anyone with a buy-to-let mortgage will not benefit from the government's announcement on delaying interest payments, and that could be bad news for tenants.

Landlords with buy-to-let mortgages are now falling behind with their payments more quickly than owner occupiers, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage lenders.

If that leads to repossession, tenants are often not told what is happening and can very quickly face losing their home through no fault of their own.

Bob Howard investigates.

Further information/related stories:

HMRC logo
HM Revenue & Customs repaid 1.8bn in overpaid tax in 2005/06
Overpaid tax

As the rate you get on your savings declines it is more important than ever to check that you are not having too much tax deducted.

The bank or building society automatically takes 20% of the interest you earn and passes it to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

But what if you should not pay tax at all on your interest - as your income is below your yearly personal allowance?

Most pensioners now fall into this category and an estimated 200,000 pay too much tax on their savings.

In the past the Revenue has said that up to 300m was waiting to be reclaimed.

And this month it is launching yet another attempt to persuade people to reclaim their overpaid tax.

We hear from Claire Merrills of HMRC.

Further information/related stories:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 6 December 2008 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday 7 December 2008 at 2102 GMT.

External internet links
05 Dec 08 |  Moneybox

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