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Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 17:42 UK

Building society to be rescued?

Dunfermline building Society branch
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 28 March 2009 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

Concern has been raised over the future of Scotland's largest building society, the Dunfermline Building Society, amid reports it may have to be bailed out by the UK Government.

The building society insists that it is business as usual. However it is expected that losses of £26m will be announced when its annual results are published in April.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and UK Chancellor Alistair Darling have met to discuss the situation, it has emerged.

The building society is reported to have made big losses on commercial property loans.

If it does receive money from the taxpayer it will be the first building society to do so.

We speak to Colin McLean, managing director of SVM Asset Management and Willie Rennie, Liberal Democrat MP for Dunfermline and West Fife.

Further information:

Debt Relief Orders

Cut up credit cards
Debtors will apply to the Insolvency Service through an intermediary

Low-income people living in England and Wales with debts of less than £15,000 will shortly be able to opt for a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy.

It is expected that tens of thousands of people will apply for these new Debt Relief Orders. Bob Howard has been looking at their likely impact.

Further information:

Equity release

Pensioners sitting on a bench at the seaside
Many older people fear losing their means-tested benefits

There are moves to change the law so retired people who raise money on their home do not lose means-tested Pension Credit.

It has been estimated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that there are more than two million older people living in accommodation worth more than £50,000 but on incomes so low they get means-tested benefits.

Many of those people might consider releasing money from their homes to fund vital improvements to allow them to remain there rather than moving into residential care. But the complex benefit rules are putting many people off.

Money Box speaks to former minister Baroness Patricia Hollis who is calling for the change.

Further information:


Coins and notes
Savers have been attracted by NS&I's depositor guarantee

Britons have saved an average of £86.35 a month over the past year and regular savers are "becoming more committed", an NS&I survey has indicated.

There were record deposits at the savings "haven" in the last three months of 2008 as more and more consumers looked for a safe place for their money.

But interest rates on its products are not competitive and they were further reduced in January and February as the Bank rate came down.

We speak to Peter Cornish of NS&I about its findings and ask why its savings rates are so low.

Plus, as the tax year draws to a close we look at the best cash ISA deals with Michelle Slade of consumer website Moneyfacts.

Further information:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 28 March 2009 at 1204 GMT.

The programme repeat on Sunday 29 March 2009 at 2102 BST was replaced by an updated edition of Money Box.

Money Box



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