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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
E-mail blunder
Man at computer

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 25 September, 2004 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 26 September, at 2102 BST.

One of the UK's biggest providers of loans and credit cards has admitted breaking the Data Protection Act by exposing the e-mail addresses of more than 2500 of its customers.

The bank e-mailed them on Tuesday asking them to call a helpline urgently, but an error meant that each address was visible to everyone on the list.

HFC Bank, which is owned by HSBC, operates credit cards for Marbles and Vauxhall GM, as well as affinity cards for the Law Society and the Open University.

Internet specialist Alan Stevens explained why he thinks it is completely unacceptable for a bank to behave this way.

And we asked Martin Rutland, HFC Director of Corporate Affairs, how and why the error happened.

Further information


M&S share buyback

Marks & Spencer's shareholders have been given the chance to cash in their shares in a 2.3bn buyback scheme.

M&S has said it will offer between 332p and 380p a share.

How good a deal is this? We asked stockbroker Tony Craze to explain.

Further information


Bank staff commission

Concerns have been raised about the way two major banks are paying the staff who deal with customers and sell them products.

Bradford & Bingley is dropping its commitment to independent financial advice and sales staff must now sell a quota of insurance and other products alongside mortgages to earn commission.

Its High St rival Abbey also faces changes in the way staff are paid if it is bought by Spanish bank Santander.

Dai Davies from banking union Unifi told us why he believes the increased pressure to sell will leave sales advisers far from better off.

And Mick McAteer from the Consumers Association explained what these changes will mean for consumers.

Further information


Affordable housing

Paul Lewis was at the Liberal Democrat conference this week, where he heard the party's plans to increase the availability of affordable housing.

To discuss the proposals we were joined by Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Edward Davey and Sue Regan, Policy Director of the housing charity Shelter.

Further information


Over 80s pension

Last week Money Box broadcast a special programme all about the state pension. Since then many listeners have asked for more information about something mentioned in the programme.

It is called the over 80s pension, and could mean more money for older pensioners. Money Box's Jennifer Clarke explained what it is and who can get it.

Further information


Inheritance tax

The Conservative Party has said it would consider raising the threshold at which inheritance tax becomes payable.

Critics argue 263,000 is too low given how much house prices have grown.

The Tories are being careful not to promise a cut, but the idea will be discussed at the party conference next month.

So far there is no confirmation of what the new threshold would be, or how the tax cut would be funded.

Further information:


Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles



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