BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Friday, 29 October 2010 19:14 UK

Radical pension overhaul planned

Pensioners protest in London
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 30 October 2010 at 1204 BST on Radio 4 and Online

The Government is expected to announce a new flat-rate state pension of £140 a week.

It is thought the new pension would begin sometime between 2015 and 2020. It would sweep away the whole complexity of means tested benefits, SERPS, and national insurance, saving administrative costs of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Moneybox's Charlotte McDonald went to see hundreds of members of the National Pensioners Convention who were in Westminster this week to demand a better pension.

A plan to auto-enrol all employees in a work pension scheme was set out by the Government. The employer will also have to pay into the pension themselves.

There will be no exemption even for the smallest employers.

We speak to the Government's pensions minister, Steve Webb.

Related information:

HelpLoan debt collectors stop

The debt collection agency working for the payday loan firm HelpLoan has told Money Box that they have stopped pursuing all customers referred to it by the company for not repaying money they've borrowed.

HelpLoan offers small loans at very high rates of interest. Last week Money Box revealed that over the last few weeks fraudsters have allegedly applied for thousands of loans successfully by using other people's personal details.

Since this story was reported last Saturday, almost a hundred listeners have been in touch to say they too have received threatening letters asking for repayment of loans they never took out.

At the same time Money Box has learnt, the Office of Fair Trading is investigating why the interest rates quoted on Help Loan's website massively underestimate the cost of borrowing. Bob Howard has been investigating.

Related information:

Gas prices to rise

Millions of us will be paying more for our gas before Christmas - as Scottish and Southern Energy are increasing their prices by 9.4% - which will cost households between an extra £50 to £70 per year.

So with the first of the big six energy companies announcing their first price rise since 2008 - will the others follow?

We speak to Mark Todd from the comparison site - The Energy Helpline.

Related information:

Junior ISAs to replace Child Trust Funds

The Government has announced a new tax-free way to put away savings for children, dubbed the "junior" ISA.

The new savings plan will be introduced in the autumn next year as a replacement for the Child Trust Fund that is being phased out.

The main difference from the Child Trust is that you won't get a contribution from the Government when your baby is born.

It will be down to you to decide if you wish to open the account and put money into it.

We speak to John Reeve, the chief executive of Family Investments, one of the companies which has been consulting with the Government over the junior ISA's.

Related information:

Claim for Lloyds shareholders

Lloyds small shareholders have been contacting Money Box concerned after receiving letters asking them to help fund a multi billion pound claim for compensation against the Government and the bank's senior directors.

Lloyds shares plunged in value after the sale of the stricken bank HBOS to the banking giant. Shareholders allege that former Chancellor Alistair Darling and Lloyds directors withheld vital information in the run up to the take over in 2008.

Lawyers for the investors argue that a £25.4bn Bank of England loan to HBOS should have been made public. And shareholders say they'd never have voted in favour of buying HBOS if they'd known the extent of the bank's financial difficulties.

Adrian Lithgow from Lloyds Action Now and David Green, partner in the law firm, Edwin Coe, speak to the programme.

Related information:

BBC Radio 4's Money Box: Saturday 30 October at 1204 BST and Sunday 31 October at 2102 BST.

Money Box



Download or subscribe to this programme's podcast

Podcast Help

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific