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Sale and rent back crack down

Keys in a frot door lock
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 7 February 2009
at 1204 BST
On Radio 4 and Online

The Treasury is launching a consultation on the regulation of sale and rent back companies.

The companies market schemes as a way for struggling homeowners to stay in their homes by buying their property and leasing it back to them.

But consumer groups have criticised the schemes following reports that some people who have sold their houses in this way have been thrown out by the new landlord while others have been charged extortionate rents.

Earlier this week the Office of Fair Trading launched a crackdown sale and rent back companies, asking 16 of the businesses to justify their advertising claims or face prosecution.

Ian Pearson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Minister outlines the government's proposals.

Then Adam Sampson, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, and Chris Norris from the National Landlords Association debate the issues around the industry.

Further information/related stories:

Finger print
Like finger prints and iris scans, our voices are not easy to copy
Voice recognition

Pins and passwords are the common way of protecting telephone banking customers details but some fraudsters are still managing to trick people into revealing these sensitive details.

Now we may soon be offered a new - potentially more secure - way to identify ourselves to banks using a system called "voice biometrics."

This attempts to match up your voice with a sample you have already given to prove you are who you say you are when you call to make a transaction.

The system has already been adopted in Australia so will it catch on here?

Bob Howard reports.

Further information/related stories:

Traffic passes a newspaper poster featuring the Bank of England's latest interest rate cut, outside the Bank of England
People with fixed mortgage rates may be kicking themselves now
Interest rates drop again

This week the Bank of England's rate setting committee lowered interest rates by 0.5% in a move which takes the base rate to a record low of 1%.

So what does the historically low base rate mean for savers and borrowers?

But rates should be left on hold to protect savers according to the Building Societies Association (BSA).

We are joined by Adrian Coles, director general of the BSA, and Ray Boulger from mortgage brokers John Charcol.

While savers are suffering, those with mortgages are mostly feeling the benefit - and one group in particular is spectacularly better off.

People with tracker mortgages that follow the bank's interest rate where there is no limit with a so-called collar may have their monthly payments cut to practically zero.

Further information/related stories:

Pensioner at a Post Office counter being given cash
The first 6,000 (10,000 if you are in a care home) of savings is ignored
Interest rates and pension credit

More than half a million pensioners also lose out from the fall in savings rates.

Pension credit is means tested and the calculation currently assumes pensioners receive 10% interest on their nest eggs.

There are calls for this assumption to be updated in the light of the recent falls in savings rates.

Sally West of Age Concern gives us her view.

Further information/related stories:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 7 February 2009 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday 8 February 2009 at 2102 GMT.

Money Box



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07 Feb 09 |  Moneybox

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