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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 16:23 GMT
Teachers' pensions
A teacher in a classroom
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 27 November, 2004 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 28 November, at 2102 GMT

Louise Greenwood reports on the teachers who claim they were mis-sold policies to top-up their pensions and are now seeking redress.

Some teachers who bought "additional voluntary contributions" through the insurer Prudential have found their pensions are worth less than if they had opted instead to buy "past added years".

Due to the number of complaints about the products sold, the Pensions Ombudsman is struggling to deal with the caseload.

We spoke to an affected teacher and to Prudential Chief Executive Mark Wood.

Further information:


Cash machine charges

A growing number of cash machines are now not run by banks but by independent operators who may charge around 1.50 or more for the service.

About 20,000 machines are generally located away from the High St in small shops, pubs, or garages; a market the banks are moving out of.

Recently, Halifax Bank of Scotland sold more than 800 machines in such locations. The buyer, CardPoint, now owns nearly 3000 machines in the UK.

Cardpoint Chief Executive Mark Mills joined us to discuss the increasing trend towards having to pay to access your own cash.

Further information:


Tax back campaign

The Inland Revenue is stepping up its campaign to help identify people who have paid, or are paying, too much tax on their savings, and to encourage them to claim it back.

Banks and building societies automatically tax savings interest at the lower rate of 20% before it is paid, unless savers who should not be paying tax tell them not to.

Anyone whose income is below the taxable limit, currently about 91 a week, or more if they are a pensioner, does not have to pay tax. And even some people on higher incomes can claim tax back.

The Revenue believes that up to four million savers stand to gain from its initiative.

We spoke to Clare Merrills Hook from the Inland Revenue about the campaign.

Further information:


DWP in computer 'chaos'

Up to 60,000 people making new claims for pensions, jobseeker's allowance or disability benefits could have suffered delays as desktop computers throughout the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped working.

The problems began on Monday and closed down 40,000 machines. New and amended claims could not be processed, though some were done manually.

However, the DWP claimed the problems were mostly over by Thursday afternoon.

Further information:


Extended warranty rules delayed

The government has decided to delay tough new rules on how insurance is sold on electrical goods.

Extended warranties are a big source of profit for stores but consumer groups say they are often a waste of money, and the Competition Commission says they are unfair and uncompetitive.

New regulations which would have made sure consumers were given more information, and allowed them to cancel the policy within 45 days, have now been delayed until some in 2005.


Producer: Jessica Dunbar
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles



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