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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 17:50 GMT
Pension compensation finally arrives
Demonstrators protesting over lost company pension funds in Brighton, 2004
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday 22 December
at 1204 GMT
On Radio 4 and Online

A five and a half year battle came to an end this week when the government announced a compensation package for the 140,000 workers who lost their pensions when their companies went bust.

They will receive up to 90% of their pensions, according to Peter Hain, the Work and Pensions Minister.

The first reactions have been joyful, but is this a total victory and when will the money actually arrive?

Andrew Parr from the Pensions Action Group and pensions consultant Ros Altmann, gave us their reactions to the announcement.

Further information:

Pension change of heart
A mother and baby in silhouette
Only 30% of women retire on a full state pension

Women facing a reduced state pension because they stayed at home to look after children, will not be able to become eligible for a full state pension after all.

They will not be allowed to make up gaps in national insurance payments - even though six months ago, the government suggested that they would.

It was proposed that these women would be able to make a one-off payment to cover up to nine years of missing contributions, but this plan has now been shelved.

We asked junior work and pensions minister, Lord McKenzie of Luton and Baroness Hollis, Labour peer and former DWP minister, for their views on the government u-turn.

Further information:

Norwich Union fine
Norwich Union sign
Norwich Union repaid money its customers lost through the fraud

The Financial Services Authority has fined the UK's biggest insurer, Norwich Union, 1.26m, after it failed to ensure its customers' personal details were kept safe from criminals.

The FSA said the company's failure to put in place effective controls to protect customers' confidential information had resulted in a number of cases of actual and attempted fraud against policyholders.

Fraudsters were able to use publicly available information, such as names and dates of birth, to impersonate customers and obtain policyholder details from Norwich Union Life's call-centres.

We spoke to one Morey Box listener who was a victim of this fraud and asked Stephen Mann, a director at Norwich Union, how this was able to happen.

Further information:

First Solution
Former company directors Fazal Mahmood (left) and Ghulam Rumi (right)
The directors of First Solution have always denied any wrongdoing

People who lost money in what has been called the Bangladeshi Community's "Farepak", learnt this week the official receiver is to have no say over how a 300,000 payout to help them will be distributed.

The money transfer business, First Solution, collapsed in June owing about 1.7m to 2000 people.

This week, Paul Titherington, the official receiver for First Solution, told creditors that he has made a legally binding agreement with the company's three former directors, to voluntarily pay 300,000 to those whose money had gone missing.

But creditors were angry when they found out that the trustees of this fund would be the same three directors who had lost their money in the first place.

Bob Howard investigated.

Further information:

Couples' finances
A man and a woman arguing (photo credit - Science Photo Library)
Money issues are a common cause of relationship breakdown

If you are in a relationship do you keep some aspects of your finances hidden from your partner?

Apparently, a lot of us do, Engage Mutual Assurance warned this week.

According to their recent report, more than one in five Britons living with, or married to their partner, keeps a financial secret, with debts and credit card bills topping the list.

Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor from Relate, gave us some advice on how not to let money threaten your relationship, especially at the wallet-stretching time of Christmas.

Further information:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 22 December 2007 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 23 December 2007 at 2102 GMT.

Money Box



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21 Dec 07 |  Moneybox

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