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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 16:07 GMT
More details on pension assistance
Pension demonstration
An estimated 65,000 people have been hit by pension wind-ups
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 26 February, 2005, at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 27 February, 2005, at 2102 GMT.

Workers who have lost out after their pension schemes were wound up will receive 80% of their core benefits if they were within three years of retiring on 14 May, 2004, the government has announced.

The money will be paid by the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) as a top-up pension rather than through the purchase of an annuity.

Pensions Minister Malcolm Wicks said workers between the ages of 57 and 73 should expect to get this level of benefit.

But it is still not known how much help younger workers will get.

To discuss the latest details Money Box spoke to Pensions Minister Malcolm Wicks, and campaigner Andrew Parr of Pensions Action Group.

Further information:

Government reveals pension 'principles'

Labour's key principles for future pension reform have been outlined by Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson.

Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson
Mr Johnson said there was a lack of consensus on pension reform
Mr Johnson said the full impact of an ageing society would not be felt for two decades, and he wanted to avoid a "knee-jerk" reaction of instant solutions.

However, the Liberal Democrat Party has criticised the government for saying nothing concrete after seven years in power.

The Conservative Party meanwhile has said the government's "principles" are a substitute for action.

We heard from Pensions Minister Malcolm Wicks, and were joined by Shadow Pensions Secretary David Willetts and Liberal Democrat pension spokesman Steve Webb to discuss the parties' proposals.

Further information:

Allders store card confusion

Thousands of people who hold the Allders store card have been left confused about what will happen now that stores are closing or being sold off.

Allders card holders have so far been told nothing but have been sent credit card cheques that encourage them to spend more.

Chris A'Court has been investigating.

Further information:

Minimum wage increases to 5.05

The minimum wage will rise in October, benefiting more than 1m people, the government has announced.

It will go up to 5.05, or 4.25 for 18 to 21-year-olds, and there will be further rises in 2006.

Further information:

Budget set for 16 March

Chancellor Gordon Brown will deliver his Budget to the House of Commons on 16 March, the Treasury has announced.

BBC Radio 4's Money Box will have a special programme the following day, Thursday, 17 March, at 1200 GMT, taking your calls on what the budget means for your pocket.

Further information:

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Reporter: Chris A'Court

Money Box



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