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The rising cost of car insurance

young man stood against car
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 19 February 2011 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

If you've had your motor insurance renewal notice through the door in recent months, you'll already know that premiums have shot up over the past year.

The AA says the average cost of insurance jumped by a third last year - the highest rises since its records began seventeen years ago. So what is causing this price hike? Ruth Alexander reports.

Paul is joined by Nick Starling , director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers and Tony Baker from The Credit Hire Organisation.

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Benefits shake-up

The Government's plans to shake up welfare and make work pay were formally presented to Parliament this week.

The new Universal Credit will combine six means-tested benefits including income support, jobseeker's allowance, and housing benefit.

Although no-one will be worse off at the point of change, Universal Credit will eventually pay less to 1.7 million households mainly on middle incomes and pay more to 2.7 million on lower incomes.

The programme hears from Lee Healey, a benefits expert from IncomeMax.

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EU gender law to affect annuities?

Pensions for men could fall and those for women could rise following a ruling of the European Court on March the 1st. The Court will decide if European law allows insurance companies to make different offers to men and women simply on the grounds of their sex.

At the moment a woman will get a lower pension than a man of the same age with the same pot of money because on average women live longer and the money has to stretch further. If the court follows the legal advice it has been given then such discrimination will have to end.

Paul talks to Williams Burrows, an annuities expert from the Better Retirement Group and also to Nick Starling from the ABI. Ben Carter reports on the implications for other financial products.

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Tax hike to hit some redundancy payments

People who are made redundant and receive a lump sum of more than £30,000 will see a major change in the way the tax on the surplus is collected.

From April 6th 2011, a lot of it will be taxed at the higher rate of 40% or 50%, and any overpaid tax will have to be reclaimed from HMRC.

John Whiting, Tax Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation explains the implications of the planned changes.

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

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