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Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 18:19 UK

Pension website problems

A man sitting at a computer typing
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 4 April 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

It has been a frustrating week for people trying to find out if they should pay extra National Insurance contributions to boost their state pension.

The rules change from Monday and the cost of buying "missing years" of contributions will go up by 50%.

But the government's system has been unable to cope with the level of enquiries and its e-forecast system collapsed last weekend.

The Pension Service has been taking steps to resolve the issue.

We speak to the head of the Pension Service Terry Moran and Malcolm Maclean from the independent helpline The Pensions Advisory Service.

Further information:

Dunfermline deal

Dunfermline building Society branch
The building society incurred losses of about 24m last year

More than 300,000 members of Dunfermline Building Society have a new home - the Nationwide Building Society, the UK's biggest mutual.

Details of a takeover deal were published on Monday after the Bank of England used new powers under the Banking Act to rush it though.

Scotland's biggest mutual had faced going bust, hit by heavy losses from commercial property loans.

Taxpayers have now taken on more than £1.5bn of Dunfermline's loans, and the Nationwide has been given £68.5m to integrate its system with that of the Dunfermline.

We speak to Matthew Wyles, executive director, group distribution at Nationwide.

And we discuss the implications with Ralph Silva, banking analyst with Tower Group and John Goodfellow, chief executive of the Building Societies Association.

Further information:

House valuations

Estate agents claim surveyors are now undervaluing many properties

Anyone buying a home who needs a mortgage can not normally proceed unless their lender is happy the price they are paying reflects the property's current value.

But how easy is it at the moment to make an accurate valuation?

Estate agents claim surveyors are now regularly undervaluing many properties, making it impossible for some buyers to agree a price with a seller.

Bob Howard reports.

Further information:

'Cash' funds

Standard Life building
Standard Life had to compensate investors after its fund dropped in value

Problems with investments marketed as "safe" have been hitting the headlines over the past few months.

Several funds sold in the UK as "cash funds" have lost money, some a considerable amount.

Standard Life recently had to give investors £100m compensation after its Sterling Pension Fund fell by 5%.

Many of its investors believed their money had been completely safe.

The insurance industry is reviewing the way that the funds are defined across the sector.

Maggie Craig, director of life and savings at the ABI, speaks to Paul Lewis about its draft proposals.

Further information:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 4 April 2009 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 5 April at 2102 BST.

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02 Apr 09 |  Moneybox

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