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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 16:12 GMT
Row over 'default' retirement age
B&Q Warehouse centre worker Sydney Prior celebrating his 90th birthday with colleagues
An increasing number of businesses are taking on older workers
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 18 December, 2004 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 19 December, at 2102 GMT.

The government has announced that employers will be barred from forcing people into retirement before the age of 65 without good reason from 2006.

Announcing the new policy, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt told MPs she was strongly committed to tackling unjustified age discrimination at work.

We asked what you thought of the government's decision to set a default retirement age of 65

But when the new law begins, employers will be able to dismiss people once they reach 65.

The news has been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) who said the decision was "sensible and pragmatic".

But Age Concern called the decision a "cowardly u-turn", and the Third Age Employment Network said it dashed "hopes for the extension of employment rights to workers over 65".

We debated the issues with John Cridland, Deputy Director General of the CBI and Keith Frost from the Third Age Employment Network.

Further information:

Community banking scheme launched

A new initiative which aims to bring financial services to the poorest households in Britain was launched on Thursday.

The Community Banking Partnership aims to deliver a 'one-stop-shop' approach to financial inclusion for people unable to gain access to high street services.

The initiative aims to provide money advice and support, help with bill and debt repayments, savings facilities, affordable loans and access to basic banking services.

Louise Greenwood reported.

Further information:

Foods tycoon buys assurance funds

Four life assurance funds have been bought by food and drinks entrepreneur Hugh Osmond for 1bn.

Pearl, National Provident Life, NPI and London Life are all closed to new members, and were reportedly sold for about 79% of their asset value.

The sale will need approval from shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting in February and then again from the Financial Services Authority before it takes effect.

We asked Patrick Connolly from IFA John Scott & Partners if it is good news for the 2.3 million customers with money in the four funds.

Further information:

Barclaycard benefit changes

Millions of people with the UK's most widely held credit card are losing some of their free perks in the new year.

Barclaycard has decided to end extended warranty cover, a price-matching promise and travel accident insurance for its 11m cardholders.

In their place, cardholders will get new benefits connected with fraud and disaster.

We asked Ian Barber from Barclaycard to explain why the changes have been made.

But Barclaycard is not the only provider taking such action as Louise Greenwood reported.

Further information:

Abbey postal ISA delays

High Street bank Abbey has said it has managed to clear most of its backlog of 25,000 customers who were waiting to transfer money into its postal ISA.

But it has also admitted that 3,500 "more complex" cases may not be resolved before Christmas. Abbey insists they will be dealt with in January.

Further information:

Windfall for Abbey shareholders

Abbey shareholders are to receive 31p per share following its purchase by Spanish Bank Santander.

Typically people recieved either 100 or 200 shares when Abbey demutualised in 1989, so they will receive either 31 or 62.

Abbey has said the cheques are in the post.

Further information:

Blow for Child Trust Fund

Fidelity, the UK's largest retail fund manager, has said it will not be offering the Child Trust Fund.

The company had been keen to get involved, but has now said that after "detailed re-evaluation of the market", it did not think there would be sufficient demand.

Further information:

Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles

Money Box



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17 Dec 04 |  Moneybox


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