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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Pension policy
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair was speaking at the Labour Party Conference

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 2 October, 2004 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 3 October, at 2102 BST.

A change in pension policy was indicated at the Labour Party Conference this week with Tony Blair promising a move towards a system with the state pension at its core.

And Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Alan Johnson said the pension challenge could become a crisis if we fail to address the prospect of fewer people in work supporting more people in retirement.

He insisted that - if the workers of today are to be secure in retirement - we must save more or work longer.

Paul Lewis spoke to Michael Pomery of the Institute of Actuaries about the need to restore confidence in long-term savings.

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Cheque clearing

HAVE YOUR SAY
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What do you think about the current system?

You might think that once a cheque has cleared and the money has reached your bank account you are free to spend it without any concerns.

But Money Box has heard from individuals and small businesses who have found to their horror that this is not always the case.

Jessica Dunbar reported.

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Tax credits

The UK's leading accountancy body has called on the government to extend the deadline for renewal of tax credits.

Family at home
Millions of people had to apply for renewal of their awards
Families had been told that if they did not get their applications in by 30 September their payments would stop.

Meanwhile, a six-strong group of leading tax and welfare bodies has called for extensive reform to the tax credit system.

In a submission to the Inland Revenue it has identified "critical failures", which it said have caused "hardship, distress and anxiety to claimants".

We spoke to Anita Monteith from the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales.

And Robin Williamson of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group explained why the six organisations have felt it necessary to speak out.

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Equity release

SHIP - the organisation dedicated to the promotion of safe home income plans - has launched a new code of conduct for home reversion providers.

Home reversion schemes allow people to sell a percentage of their home in return for a lump sum, monthly income, or a combination of both.

The code is intended to help protect consumers in an area which has attracted a great deal of criticism.

SHIP Chairman Jon King explained how the code will work and we spoke to David McGrath, head of equity release at London and Country.

Further information:


Minimum wage

Three new wage levels are introduced for different age groups as part of the government's programme of minimum pay rates.

Further information:


Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Jessica Dunbar
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles



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