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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Saturday, 15 November 2008

Tax cuts the answer?

Gordon Brown
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 15 November
at 1204 BST
On Radio 4 and Online

Leaders from all over the world are gathering in Washington to discuss the global financial crisis.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is calling on them to agree a programme of coordinated tax cuts to prevent the global economy sliding further into recession.

But are tax cuts the answer?

Robert Chote, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies gave us his view.

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Job losses

Rahul Kumar
Rahul Kumar is a 28-year-old accountant who is now unemployed
It has been a grim week for the labour market.

On 12 November official figures showed that unemployment has reached an 11-year high at 1.8 million.

On top of that, several large companies including Glaxo SmithKline, Virgin Media and BT announced plans to cut their workforce.

So with the threat of unemployment rising, is there anything you can do to keep your financial head above water if you do lose your job?

Bob Howard reported.

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Credit cards
September saw an increase in debit and credit card spending in the UK
Credit cards

Gordon Brown is to call a meeting of credit card providers.

He wants to know why, when official interest rates are falling, they are increasing their rates.

Figures from the financial services company Defaqto, published last week, show that the average annual percentage rate on credit cards has risen by 0.4% since May, to 17.6%.

Over the same period the official base rate has fallen by two whole percentage points.

We were joined by Sandra Quinn is from APACS - the body that represents credit card companies.

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Financial Services Authority website
In October the FSA stepped up its action over PPI mis-selling
Payment protection insurance

The Competition Commission unveiled its plans to tackle the payment protection insurance (PPI) market at the end of last week.

PPI policies ensure people can still pay the instalments on loans and mortgages if they get ill or lose their job.

But the way the policies are sold - usually when the loan or credit is arranged - has been widely criticised.

The Competition Commission wants to stop this by banning loan providers from selling PPI policies for 14 days after the credit is arranged.

We heard from Stephen Sklaroff, director general of the Finance and Leasing Association.

Further information/related stories:


Icesave website
Some may have to wait nearly five weeks before getting cash back
Icesave

UK customers of the insolvent Icesave internet bank were told they should received an e-mail from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), explaining the process of how to claim their money back.

But last week thousands of Icesave customers had not received that crucial e-mail.

If you are one of them you can call the helpline: 0845 7300 131.

We looked at the most recent developments.

Further information/related stories:


Elderly woman in front of heater
Consumer Focus says some customers are forced to use prepayment meters
Prepayment meters

Energy suppliers make some of their biggest profits from their poorest customers, a watchdog has said.

Firms make about half a billion pounds a year in extra charges from prepayment meters, Consumer Focus estimates.

About 1,000 prepayment meters a day are being installed in households where people have got into debt over their energy bills, it says.

Industry body, the Energy Retail Association, says many people like the meters because they help them budget.

Ruth Davison of the National Housing Federation told us why she has campaigned against the high cost of prepayment deals.

Further information/related stories:


BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 15 November 2008 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday 16 November 2008 at 2102 GMT.



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14 Nov 08 |  Moneybox


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