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Pension freeze to hit the elderly

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 20 February 2010 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

Millions of pensioners are getting letters this month telling them how much their state pension will be from April.

But many Money Box listeners have been in touch to say that some parts of their state pension will not increase.

In December, the Chancellor said the "basic state pension" would rise by 2.5% in April.

But as Money Box revealed at the time, this pledge did not apply to other parts of the state pension - such as SERPS and graduated pension.

Nor did it apply to the extra amount earned by people who do not claim their pension when they reach 60 or 65.

Sally West from Age Concern and Help The Aged explains the changes.

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Conservatives plan to shake up PAYE system

The Conservative Party says it has the answer to the problems with tax codes that we have been reporting on recently.

Thousands of people - perhaps millions - have been sent out wrong tax codes by a new Revenue computer system that was supposed to improve things.

The Conservatives have proposals to replace the whole antiquated PAYE system, which dates back to 1944.

Money Box gets opinions on the idea from John Whiting from the Chartered Institute of Taxation and Karen Thompson from the Institute of Payroll Professionals.

Shadow Exchequer Secretary for the Conservatives, David Gauke, explains the idea.

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Mystery debit card charges?

Some shoppers have been hit with unexpected bank charges for using their debit cards online.

Their UK based sterling purchases were wrongly identified as overseas sales which triggered a foreign transaction fee of up to £1.50.

The problem arises when people who have recently been issued a Visa or Mastercard debit card try to shop at certain retailers.

Guy Anker from MoneySavingExpert explains who has been affected and why.

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Rise in inflation hits savers

According to the Retail Price Index, inflation hit 3.7% last month.

Rising inflation reduces the spending power of money and, with interest rates at a record low, savers are finding it increasingly difficult to find savings accounts that will provide a real return on their cash.

David Black from financial research firm Defaqto offers advice on the best deals.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday at 1204 GMT and repeated on Sunday at 2102 GMT.



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