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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
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Paul Lewis speaks to Lawrence Churchill
Paul Lewis speaks to the new Pension Protection Fund Chairman

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 26 June, 2004, at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 27 June, 2004 at 2102 BST

From 2005 employers will have to pay into an insurance fund to safeguard workers' pensions should their company go bust.

But will the fund be able to deliver its promises? And will it restore public confidence in pensions?

The fund's new Chairman, Lawrence Churchill, has given Money Box his first broadcast interview.

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Endowment loophole affects thousands

A quirk in the law means thousands of people who bought endowment policies cannot appeal to the regulator and now face reduced compensation.

Louise Greenwood reported.

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Thousands fail in care refund bid

Elderly man in care
Only a small proportion of claims have been successful

The government has now confirmed how many nursing home residents have been refunded fees they were wrongly charged.

But the figures reveal that only about 10% of claims have been successful so far.

Why is the number so low? We asked Lawyer Jean Gould of Public Law Solicitors, who specialises in this area.

And we were joined by the minister responsible Dr Stephen Ladyman.

Further information:


Fee concession for gap year students

Students planning to take a gap year beginning in September 2005 will now not face the higher tuition fees they feared.

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How else could higher education be funded?

The government had suggested students abandon the idea, so they could start university before fees rose in 2006.

But it has now agreed to make an amendment to the Higher Education Bill in order to prevent these students being penalised.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive has announced that English students at its universities will face higher fees from 2006, to prevent a flood of applications there.

We discussed the issues with to Mandy Telford, President of the National Union of Students.

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Gay rights plan suffers in Lords

The government's attempt to give gay couples the same financial rights as married couples looks likely to suffer delays.

The House of Lords has voted to extend the rights to others, including children who look after their parents, but the government did not want to go that far.

It will now have to try to reverse the changes in the House of Commons, leading to fears the Bill may not be passed before the General Election.


Halifax to extend clearing times

Halifax CardCash and EasyCash customers will now have to wait even longer for their money to clear, following the bank's announcement to extend the clearance time from four days to six.


Bradford & Bingley cuts 450 jobs

Bradford & Bingley has announced it is cutting 450 jobs, or 15% of its workforce. The bank's share price closed up 2% as a result of that news on Friday.


Producer: Chris A'Court
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles



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