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Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:40 UK

Pension costs criticised

Sterling notes and coins
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 26 September 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Forty per cent of your private pension pot can disappear because of fees, according to analysis by pensions expert, David Pitt-Watson.

The loss has been calculated in a report for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which criticises the costs of private pension funds.

So how do seemingly small charges on your pension fund actually add up to such a big sum?

Money Box explained the mathematics, and asked why the true impact of these charges are not made clear to the customer.

We interviewed the technical director of the Pensions Advisory Service, Des Hamilton, and head of pensions policy at Standard Life, John Lawson.

Related information:

ISA boost

Birthday candles
If your 50th birthday is on or before 5 April 2010 you can invest 10,200

Savers born on or before 5 April 1960 will be able to take advantage of increased ISA subscription limits, next month.

Between 6 October and the end of the current tax year, those people will be able to boost their annual ISA contributions.

The limit will rise to £10,200 - up to £5,100 of which can be saved in a cash ISA.

But Money Box learnt that some branch staff have not yet been trained and are unaware of the new rules.

We asked Rachel Thrussell of Moneyfacts what advice she had for Money Box listeners.

Related information:

Tax rebate con

A tax return
Be careful which websites you visit

Would you like a tax rebate of several hundred pounds?

It may sound like good news, but if you receive an e-mail from Her Majesty's Revenue
and Customs making such an offer, the advice is to ignore it.

HMRC has warned that this latest wave of bogus e-mails is from scammers, hoping to extract money from consumers.

Clare Merrills from HMRC and 'phishing' expert Fraser Howard from SophosLabs joined Money Box.

Related information:

Weakening pound

Euro notes
Could the pound reach parity with the euro?

If you are planning a visit to one of the 16 countries using the euro, you may find your trip increasingly expensive.

The weakness of the pound against the euro is also putting financial pressure on Britons who work or live abroad, and those who have a euro mortgage.

We asked Bob Atkinson from what advice he had for holiday-makers and ex-pats.

Related information:

Winter fuel allowance

A lit gas ring
The Winter Fuel Payment Helpline is 08459 15 15 15

And a final heads up - if you have blown out 60 candles on your birthday cake before next week, you could be entitled to a £250 gift from the Government.

Anyone who reaches 60 on or before Sunday 27 September 2009 is entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment this year.

The £250 payment is tax-free and is paid to everyone simply on grounds of their age. It is not means-tested.

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 26 September 2009 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 27 September 2009 at 2102 BST.

Money Box



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