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A little extra charge from HBOS

HBOS logo
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Customers of Halifax and Bank of Scotland have been contacting Money Box to complain about radical changes to their overdraft charges.

From 6 December 2009, current account holders with an approved overdraft will be charged £1 a day, even if they are just a penny overdrawn.

The fee will apply to approved overdrafts up to and including £2,500, after which it rises to £2 a day.

Many customers fear this could add up to hundreds of pounds each year, and some have threatened to close their accounts and change bank.

Bob Howard reported.

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Mortgage applications get personal

A mortgage application form
There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK

Borrowers could face tougher mortgage affordability tests, if lenders follow new proposals from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Mortgage applicants would have to detail their expenditure, right down to their monthly spend on culture, alcohol and tobacco to prove they can afford the
repayments.

Other proposals include a ban on self-certification mortgages, with lenders required to verify all borrowers' incomes.

Sales of "toxic combination" loans, where a high loan-to-value loan is given to somebody who also has a poor credit history, would also be prohibited.

FSA managing director of retail markets Jon Pain explained the proposals. And broker David Hollingworth from L&C Mortgages road tested the new system on our Money Box guinea pig.

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Dutch bank collapse

Flag flying outside the headquarters of Dutch bank DSB
DSB bank has been declared bankrupt

A Dutch bank has collapsed after depositors who were urged to take their savings out by a campaigner, did just that.

Campaigner Pieter Lakeman went on national television telling customers of the heavily criticised DSB Bank to take their money out. Over the next twelve days they removed about half a billion pounds.

The Dutch courts have declared DSB bankrupt. And there's now a question mark over whether some savers who didn't withdraw their cash will get all their money back.

Professor Jacob de Haan from Groningen University explained more.

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Overtaxed pensions

Birthday cake candles
Your Personal Allowance may rise in the tax year of your 65th birthday

Around 1.5 million pensioners have paid an average of £171 too much tax since 2002-3.

The National Audit Office (NAO) calculated the sums after a trawl of records at HM Revenue & Customs.

Discrepancies between tax authority records and tax deducted by employers and pension providers are being blamed for the errors.

Another 500,000 pensioners underpaid tax by an average of £207 each. But these are average figures so the numbers will vary greatly for individuals.

The NAO has called on HM Revenue and Customs to provide a more coherent service. The Revenue says it has plans to cut out the number of mistakes.

We talked to listener Mike Searle who reclaimed more than £2,000 from HMRC, and tax expert Jane Moore advised listeners on whether or not they may be affected.

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Self assessment deadline

The deadline for filing paper tax returns is next Saturday, 31st October.

There's some concern that the postal strike will have delayed the delivery of people's forms and this could mean having to pay a penalty.

I spoke to Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue this morning and I was told the self assessment deadline is statutory and has not been changed by the postal strike.

However, I was also told that any tax returns that miss the deadline purely due to the circumstances of the strike, will almost certainly not attract a penalty.


BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 1204 BST.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 2102 GMT.



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