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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 16:07 GMT
Debt warning
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King
Mervyn King was delivering the quarterly inflation report
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 15 November, 2003 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 16 November, 2003 at 2102 GMT.

Families must "think carefully" about how much debt they can afford, and prepare for the possibility their incomes may change and interest rates may rise, the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King said on Wednesday.

The Bank's latest quarterly inflation report warned that if house prices continued to rise at a rate that exceeds growth in average incomes, there could be problems ahead.

Mortgage and savings rate changes following the Bank of England's base rate rise

However, he added that "given the data we have, it does not look as serious as it was a decade ago".

Ten days after the Bank of England raised the base interest rate to 3.75%, more information is emerging on how it will effect mortgages and savings.

Jessica Dunbar reported on the latest news; and we spoke to Ann Pettifor of the New Economics Foundation and Jerry Fearnley of the British Bankers' Association.

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In depth:

Maersk in pension bailout

Nearly 200 former Sealand Services workers will benefit

Workers who faced losing part of their pensions after their firm was taken over and their scheme wound up have been bailed out by shipping giant Maersk.

Maersk inherited the Sealand Services plan as part of a takeover in December 1999, and the decision was taken to wind up the scheme in March 2002.

There were 196 deferred members who had not yet retired, and only 15 became Maersk employees and were eligible to join its company pension scheme.

After 18 months of refusing to help, Maersk has finally announced it will put nearly 5 million into the fund to make sure there is enough money to meet past pension promises.

We spoke to Nick Edmonds of Opra, the government regulator for company pensions.

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Clearing times

Moving money and paying bills over the internet is supposed to be quick and convenient. But Jessica Dunbar has been investigating why one listener's experience was anything but this.

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Missing Sids

Gas company Centrica has begun a search for 22,000 people who bought shares in British Gas in the 80s, but have since lost contact with the company.

When British Gas privatised in 1986, its advertising campaign looking for potential investors famously searched for "Sid".

We answered your questions on Giving to Charity

Now it seems the search has begun again. But should Centrica find the missing shareholders, it will charge them to reactivate their accounts.

It has also identified another 600,000 people who own 300 shares or less and persuade them to either buy more, or sell the ones they have.

We spoke to Derek Woodward, the man in charge of the project at Centrica.

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Benefit website

Money Box listeners tested the website that works out how much money people are entitled to.

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Penny Haslam
Reporter: Jessica Dunbar
Researcher: Diane Richardson
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles

Money Box



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Internet links: 15 November 2003
14 Nov 03  |  Moneybox

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