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BP woes fuel pension concerns

BP woes could hit pension funds
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 05 June 2010 at 1204 BST on Radio 4 and Online

As BP tries to stem the flow of the oil leak in the Mexican Gulf, shareholders in the company are concerned about the dramatic falls in the value of their holdings.

UK pension funds have seen billions of pounds wiped off their value because of the decline of one of the country's largest companies.

There's political pressure from the US President for the company not to pay out a dividend to shareholders, but on Friday BP head Tony Hayward remained positive that the payout would go ahead.

However, shareholders aren't entirely powerless when it comes to dramatic falls in share prices. The Lothian Pension Fund is currently suing BP for it's alleged negligence which led to the Alaskan oil spill in 2006 and the subsequent drop in it's share price.

Joining Paul on this topic is Bob Campion, editor of Pensions Insight magazine and a pensions trustee, and Tim McKay from the Lothian Pension Fund.

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Paying for free information

Last week Money Box looked at websites that charge for government goods and services available at a cheaper rate, or for free, through the official Government site.

But listeners have been contacting us to say that it's not just health cards and apostille services that you've been fooled into paying for.

Money Box has found one particular website - child-benefit.org.uk - that is charging people for a checking service when they apply for child benefit online. The site even directs people to the official HMRC child benefit line through a more expensive telephone number.

The company that runs the website - Digital Select Limited - says it is providing a valuable service for people who find Government websites confusing.

Shaun Freeman from Digital Select Limited joins the programme. We also hear from senior Conservative MP Michael Fallon.

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What Capital Gains Tax uncertainty means for you

Will thousands more people end up liable for Capital Gains Tax after the Budget on June 22nd? And what will the small print say?

The headlines in the media this week 'will the capital gains tax hike hit you?' make it sound like many more of us - like those selling second homes or shares - will be liable for tax on the profits.

The business secretary, Vince Cable - or just plain Vince Cable when he spoke to Money Box before last month's General Election, made it very plain he wanted to raise the CGT rate to 20% or 40% and it's in the Queen's Speech.

The programme will hear from Anne Redston, Professor of Tax at King's College in London.

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The battle to remortgage

If you want to extend your home, how easy is it at the moment to persuade your mortgage lender to loan you the extra money?

We all know credit is tight but one Money Box listener has had his loan application declined for a reason he's finding very hard to fathom.

Bob Howard's been to meet him.


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



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