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Deflation fears

A basket of goods
BBC Radio 4's Money Box

Saturday, 21 March 2009 at 1204 GMT

On Radio 4 and Online

The latest inflation figures will be released on Tuesday and the Retail Prices Index - on which wages, many state benefits, tax allowances and financial products like annuities are linked - is expected to fall to zero or go negative.

The current headline RPI rate of 0.1% is already at its lowest level since 1960.

So what happens to those crucial state benefits and other financial items when inflation actually falls? Will they go down too? Or will they be frozen?

Money Box asks Andrew Leicester, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies; John Whiting from PricewaterhouseCoopers; Tom McPhail from Hargreaves Lansdown and and Dax Harkins from NS&I.

Further information and internet links:

Debt collection

Scott Hines, High Court Enforcement Officer
Bob Howard meets Enforcement Officer Scott Hines

As the number of people with serious debts continues to rise, the powers given to bailiffs and their conduct when recovering money is likely to come under greater scrutiny.

The government has announced bailiffs will not be given greater powers to force entry but also said a scheme to regulate the sector will not begin for another three years.

Bob Howard has been out in East London witnessing the work of a bailiff working with the sanction of the High Court.

And Paul Lewis speaks to Justice Minister Bridget Prentice about the government plans.

Further information and internet links:

Banking reform

Lord Turner, FSA Head
The report follows the onset of the crisis which brought down several banks

Plans to overhaul the banking system and prevent a repeat of the current financial crisis have been announced by the head of the City watchdog.

Lord Turner's proposals include intense supervision of the banks and a tightening of rules on lending during boom years.

We hear from Lord Turner and speak to Kay Blair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel about what it means for you.

Further information and internet links:

Financial compensation

Some building societies believe they are not being treated fairly

Building societies are angry that they are being asked to pay for the failure of Bradford & Bingley and the Icelandic banks.

Under the terms of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme both building societies and banks have to contribute to compensate customers of banks that went bust last year.

Nationwide, Britain's biggest building society, has said it expects to pay £250m over the next three years.

The Yorkshire Building Society has also seen its profits fall because of the scheme. We speak to its corporate development director Andy Caton about why he feels building societies are being treated unfairly.

Further information and internet links:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 21 March 2009 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday 22 March 2009 at 2102 GMT.

Money Box



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20 Mar 09 |  Moneybox

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