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News of savings and investments, credit cards and loans, pensions, banking, benefits and giving to charity. The UK’s premier weekly round-up of personal finance with Paul Lewis.

News of savings and investments, credit cards and loans, pensions, banking, benefits and giving to charity. The UK’s premier weekly round-up of personal finance with Paul Lewis.
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London, United Kingdom




News of savings and investments, credit cards and loans, pensions, banking, benefits and giving to charity. The UK’s premier weekly round-up of personal finance with Paul Lewis.




Teenage money mules. What happens when you get found out?

There's been a big increase over the past year in the number of young people acting as money mules. That's the name for people who are offered a fee to receive money into their bank account and then the cash is passed to someone else. It's illegal - as often what the money mule is doing is laundering the proceeds of crime. Money Box reporter Marie Keyworth spoke to 17 year old 'Holly' who was approached on social media to 'lend' her bank account to a stranger. The teenager was challenged...


Money Box Live: Representing Yourself In Court

Going to court costs time and money. So what happens if you have a strong case to fight, but can't afford a lawyer? How effective is DIY justice? Whether you're in dispute with your council, at risk of having your home repossessed or seeking a residency order for your child, what help is available as you put your case to the court? Five years on since major cuts in legal aid, more people than ever are representing themselves in family courts. Campaigners against the cuts say it's slowing...


Energy firms turn up the heat on smart meters

The energy regulator, Ofgem, is encouraging suppliers to hand out smart meter installation appointments to customers who haven't asked for them, and in some cases, to turn up at their homes uninvited. It's all part of the government's drive to get energy smart meters in all homes by 2020. Energy customers have been contacting Money Box angry that they've been receiving letters and texts with appointment times for the installation of the digital meters even though in some cases they've...


Money Box Live: A Cashless Future?

As a society we are using less and less cash. Figures from UK Finance say that notes and coins made up only to 40% of all payments in 2016 as people shop online, and choose to use a card, especially contactless, in their day-to-day spending. So with the use of cash predicted to fall even further, to only 26% of all payments by 2026, is it essentially a thing of the past? We'll be hearing from a cafe that's welcoming the cashless revolution with open arms, and from the Governor of Sweden's...


Anger as HSBC claws back pension cash

HSBC is cutting the pensions of thousands of former bank staff, in some cases by £1,500 or more a year. The claw-back, which is legal, takes effect when members of the scheme reach state pension age. But those affected say the rules were never explained to them and that they discriminate against women and the lower paid. HSBC insists it has done nothing wrong. Former pension's minister, Steve Webb, gives his view on the case and offers advice to others who may be affected. From this week,...


Money Box Live: GDPR and What It Means For You

On 25th May, sweeping new data protection rules come into force, changing the way individuals and businesses deal with personal data. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation - or GDPR for short - will give you the right to do things like ask companies and organisation to tell you what data they are holding on you, and how it's being used. It will also restrict the way direct marketing reaches your email inbox, and means you will be told if your data is compromised by hackers. While the...


The Future of Banking

Jacqui Williamson cannot imagine not having a bank in her town. She owns an award-winning café and delicatessen in Beauly, in the Highlands of Scotland. But last October, her local branch of Bank of Scotland closed. And now the town's last remaining bank, RBS, is due to close in December. How will she do her banking in the future? As the big high street banks continue to shut branches across the UK, there are more ways to bank than ever before - including mobile-only, branchless banks. But...


Money Box Live: Income in the UK

More than one million NHS staff in England are due a pay rise of at least 6.5% over three years thanks to a deal agreed between union leaders and ministers. It marks the end of a seven year wage cap and is good news for nurses, porters and paramedics. Inflation has also fallen. After years of income stagnation are we finally turning the corner? Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions also point to progress, showing that middle incomes increased by just under 2% in the last year....


Millions missing out on Marriage Tax Allowance

More than a million couples who could save £230 a year off their tax bill have still not claimed an allowance designed to support marriage. When the Marriage Tax Allowance began in April 2015, the Treasury estimated that 4.2 million people would be eligible, but so far only 65 per cent are taking advantage of the scheme. Plus, is the Savings Allowance system too complicated? We discuss the issues with Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in charge of tax policy. According to...


Cost of Being Single, End of Mortgage Interest Support, Pension Transfer Letters

The cost of living alone, rather than living as a couple, is more than £1000 a year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. In the UK nearly eight million people now live alone and spend on average £21 a week more than individuals who live as a couple. Money Box reporter Marie Keyworth visits Sussex to investigate the cost of living, shopping, exercising and holidaying alone. Up to 90,000 people on benefits are at risk of losing their home when the Government stops...


Pension scheme members 'shamelessly bamboozled'

This week a report from the Work and Pensions Select Committee says British Steel pension scheme members were targeted by "vulture" financial advisers after Tata was allowed to offload its retirement fund. It found that members were "shamelessly bamboozled" into transferring out of their final salary schemes, and criticises the Pensions Regulator and the FCA. The report also urged the FCA to ban contingent charging where financial advisers receive a fee for transfer advice, calling it "a...


Shaking the Magic Money Trees

How Britain created £435billion out of nowhere - and where the money went.


High-risk trading fraud warning

The FCA is warning about a form of online high-risk trading which some firms are illegally offering in the UK. Binary options trading involves betting on whether anything that can be measured in financial terms, like a currency or share index, will rise or fall below a specified price at a certain time. The FCA began regulating last month which means it's now illegal to sell those trades in the UK without its authorisation. Money Box listener Penny lost nearly £17,000 with an unauthorised...


British steel pension member - Have I made the worst decision of my life?

There's concern that thousands of steelworkers and former steelworkers at Port Talbot may have been badly advised to withdraw funds and put them into unsuitable investments. Money Box has learned that six firms have now voluntarily stopped signing up new clients. Money Box's Tony Bonsignore reports from Port Talbot. The programme hears from steelworker Paul who fears he's made the worst financial decision in his life. Megan Butler, director of supervision at the FCA and Michelle Cracknell,...


Money Box Live: The Autumn Budget 2017

Financial phone-in.


Money Box Live: New technology and banking

New technology is transforming the way we handle our finances. Are you someone who uses mobile apps to keep track of how you spend your money or does the thought of it fill you with dread? Have you signed up to text alerts informing you of when you're about to go overdrawn? Do you use Twitter and other forms of social media to communicate with your bank or would you rather visit your branch and have a chat with a real person? Open banking, an industry wide initiative being introduced by...


Parents fear online problems will cost them childcare places

Parents who use two government childcare schemes tell Money Box about a problem they fear is putting their children at risk of losing their nursery places. It happens when they go online to reconfirm their continued eligibility for either the tax-free childcare top up scheme or for 30 hours free childcare. After receiving a successful confirmation message they then get another one saying their entitlement will be stopped as they no longer meet the criteria - despite there being no...


Money Box Live: Rent Controls

Rent controls are common across Europe - but do they work? And could they work in the UK? It's a popular idea with voters but detractors say it could destroy the private rental sector. Nearly a third of private tenants had problems paying their rent, according to a recent report published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Amid rising concerns about the cost of renting, there are renewed calls for some sort of price cap to limit cost increases - a policy already in...


Young driver foxed by the box

Black Box technology is regularly touted as a way of reducing car insurance premiums. If the box shows your driving is safe then you qualify for refunds on your premiums. But how does the box determine that your driving is safe? Money Box reporter Tony Bonsignore has discovered that every company has a different way of assessing safe driving and that the digital readings are not always as accurate as they could be. The Government is proposing a draft bill to cap energy prices. What will...


Money Box Live: Tax then and now

What was troubling the tax man back in 1977 when Money Box first broadcast? Chairman of the Board of the Inland Revenue, Sir William Pile took the hot seat in our first ever programme, quizzed by presenters Louise Botting and Peter Hobday. Simplifying tax, competence and the sensitivity of tax inspectors were all on the agenda. So what's changed in the last 40 years and have HMRC got to grips with these early challenges? Adam Shaw and guests listen back to Sir William's Pile's interview...


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