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Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Saturday, 17 July 2010 10:54 UK

Northern Rock mortgage trap

Northern Rock clock above the branch in Northumberland Street in Newcastle
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 17 July 2010 at 1204 BST on Radio 4 and Online

The state-owned bank Northern Rock Asset Management has been accused of treating its customers unfairly by mortgage advisers.

In January 2010, hundreds of thousands of Northern Rock customers lost the ability to switch their mortgage to another provider without paying an early repayment charge, when Northern Rock Asset Management took over their account.

The bank agreed to waive, or reduce, early repayment charges on an informal basis, for some but not all of its customers up until the end of June 2010.

Northern Rock claim that they are fully committed to treating their customers fairly.

We discuss the plight of customers with a mortgage broker whose client is dissatisfied, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban and Ray Boulger from independent mortgage experts John Charcol.

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Annuity choice

The Government has unveiled radical proposals which it hopes will give investors more choice over their retirement plans.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban has announced the start of an 8-week consultation on removing the effective requirement to annuitise by age 75, although this age was raised to 77 in last month's Budget.

The consultation will investigate ways to allow people to continue saving, or to draw money from their pension pot without exhausting their pension savings and falling back on the state.

Key considerations will be how much is a reasonable amount to live on and how this will be calculated?

We discuss the proposals with Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban and Billy Burrows from Burrows & Cummins Annuities.

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Time to raise interest rates?

If you have a tracker or variable rate mortgage, or you rely on interest from your savings to pay your bills, the monthly decision on interest rates by the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will make a big difference to your household budget.

Rates have been held at an historic low of 0.5% since March 2009.

Until last month that decision was made unanimously by all nine members of the committee. However in June, Dr Andrew Sentance surprised many by voting in favour of a 0.25% increase.

In a rare broadcast interview, Money Box asks Dr Andrew Sentance, how he actually goes about making his decision on how to vote on rates every month.

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Keydata

Money Box has discovered that people who had money invested in the collapsed fund, Keydata Investment Services, should find out by the end of July if their money is safe.

The company went into administration in June 2009 after breaking tax rules and because it was insolvent.

It is now well over a year since the administrators froze all payments to Keydata investors and Money Box has received lots of emails and letters from listeners asking for an update.

Around 30,000 UK people have £450m invested in Keydata funds. £100m of that was put into the SLS Capital Fund, which the administrators discovered was empty.

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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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