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Money for nothing?

Gift cards
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 07 April 2012 at 1204 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Gift vouchers - and their more modern plastic equivalent, gift cards - are often seen as the perfect present when you just don't quite know what to buy a relative or friend for Christmas or a birthday - or indeed for a fat free Easter.

It's a huge industry - worth £4 billion a year in the UK - but some Money Box listeners have been telling us their problems with cards and vouchers when trying to use them.

We hear from a couple of them and Andrew Johnson, Director General of the UK Gift Card and Vouchers Association.

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Mortgage prisoners

Are you one of them? Trapped in an existing mortgage with high loan to value, negative equity, unable to leave a fixed term deal, or to remortgage?

It's thought more than a million homeowners could fall into that category - and their plight may get worse.

The Financial Services Consumer Panel wants the financial regulator, the FSA, to introduce a new rule to protect them from rising standard variable rates.

Paul talks to Adam Phillips, Chairman of the Consumer Panel and to Ray Boulger of brokers, John Charcol

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Unspent Convictions and Insurance

Under current rules, ex-offenders have to disclose all unspent convictions to insurance companies, even when they're not asked about them on their application forms.

But a recent change to the law means that from next Spring, the responsibility will switch to the insurer to ask for the information.

Paul speaks to Chris Stacey, head of projects and services for the ex-offenders charity, Unlock.

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Ramifications of contracting out of SERPS

Big changes in pensions this week. They affect the millions of people who have ever opted out of the earnings related part of the state pension.

They diverted some of their National Insurance Contributions to a private pension scheme - instead of putting them into the State Earnings Related Pensions Scheme SERPS more recently called State Second Pension.

But there are concerns that when a husband or wife dies, the surviving spouse could lose out financially. TOM McPHAIL Head of Pension Research at Hargreaves Lansdown

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box is broadcast on Saturday at 1204 BST.



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