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Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 16:46 UK

Reinvigorating retirement

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith meets 76 year old Roy Gill, the oldest employee at the Asda store on London"s Old Kent Road
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 1204 BST on Radio 4 and Online

As part of a major shake-up of the welfare system announced this week, the Government is to speed up plans to raise the state pension age to 66.

The increase for men may happen as early as 2016, with women reaching a state pension age of 66 a few years later.

At the moment the plan is to raise it for men and women over two years ending in 2026.

But the new Government says with life expectancy growing, the change is more urgent than that.

Ministers have also made it clear that by April next year employers will no longer be able to dismiss people just because they have reached the age of 65.

The Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, and Bob Campion editor of Pension Insight Magazine join the programme.

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Tax changes

A number of key tax measures were announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in his emergency Budget earlier this week.

The most eye catching include: the VAT hike from 17.5% to 20% from January next year; the increase in Capital Gains Tax to 28% for higher rate taxpayers which has already come into force; and the rise in the personal income tax allowance by £1,000 next April to £7,475.

Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at Grant Thornton, explains the detail of this and other tax measures.

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VAT


Budget 2010: Welfare and housing

In his Budget speech this week, George Osborne stated that it is not possible to deal with the budget deficit without undertaking lasting welfare reform.

"Total welfare spending has increased from £132 billion ten years ago to £192 billion today. That represents a real terms increase of a staggering 45 per cent. It's one reason why there is no money left."

The chancellor hopes that the proposed changes to the welfare system will save the country £11 billion by 2014-15.

Eddy Graham, benefits advisor from The Child Poverty Action Group explains the impact the benefit shake-up might have on household finances.

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Budget 2010: Economic impact

The purpose of this 'emergency' budget is of course to reduce the deficit and support economic recovery.

The price of failure Mr Osborne said would be "Higher interest rates, more business failures, sharper rises in unemployment, and potentially even a catastrophic loss of confidence and the end of the recovery."

But there's a clear divide between economists about whether the toughness of the Budget was absolutely necessary.

Dr Peter Warburton who sits on the Institute of Economic Affairs, Shadow Monetary Policy Committee and economist Dr Ian Shepherdson, from High Frequency Economics debate the issue.

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Banks confusing travellers by blocking cards

Money Box has received a huge response to last week's story, looking at the problem of notifying your bank when you travel abroad, to prevent your credit and debit cards from being blocked by their fraud prevention departments.

Many of you have told us how hard it is to get cards unblocked when holidaying in very different time zones from the UK. You also want advice on obtaining an apology or even compensation when you return. Bob Howard investigates.

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



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