Money Box
Money Box
BBC Radio 4
The latest news from the world of personal finance plus advice for those trying to make the most of their money.
Buy Now, Pay Later and Accessible Homes
New research has found that one in five people are paying for essentials - like food and household bills - by borrowing on Buy Now, Pay Later. A report from The Money and Pensions Service says more than ten million people now use it and claims around 40% of people they surveyed were managing their repayments badly including turning to credit cards, savings or overdrafts to pay it back. Millions of pounds could be saved every year by building more homes that are accessible to people in wheelchairs - that's the conclusion of a report by the London School of Economics and the Housing Association, Habinteg. It looked into the financial costs and benefits of building more accessible homes for people who need them. The number of wheelchair users living in unsuitable homes across the UK is estimated to be more than 400,000. Dan Whitworth visits Kenilworth to meet Georgia and her family for a tour of their partly accessible home. The government is currently considering ways it could change pensions in the UK to drive better outcomes for savers. Part of this includes a call for evidence looking at how defined benefit schemes might be invested differently. One idea is to make it easier for private sector employers to access tens of billions of pounds of surplus funds that have built up in their pension schemes. The Department for Work and Pensions says "the direction of future policy is not yet decided.” Tom Selby from AJ Bell explores this idea. Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporters: Dan Whitworth and Sarah Rogers Researcher: Sandra Hardial Editor: Jess Quayle (First broadcast 12pm, Saturday 2nd September) 00:00 Introduction 00:41 Buy Now Pay Later 07:25 Accessible Homes 15:41 Self-Assessment Tax Helpline 17:02 Defined Benefit Pensions
Sep 30
24 min
Money Box Live from Leeds: Student Finance
Felicity Hannah and the team broadcast live from Leeds University as students from England face a massive overhaul to their finances. It's the biggest change in more than a decade. Previously, student loans were written off after 30 years, but under a new scheme called 'Plan 5' it's 40 years. Graduates will also have to start paying money back when they earn £25,000, the threshold has been lowered this year from £27,295. So, this week we're looking at how much a really degree costs as well as taking your questions and comments. On the programme we have money guru Martin Lewis to explain exactly what the changes mean as well as Louise Banahene, Leeds University Engagement Officer, Bethan Corner, who is the Education Officer at the Student Union, and Tom Allingham from student finance website, Save the Student. Presenter: Felicity Hannah Producer: Sarah Rogers Editor: Jess Quayle (First broadcast, 3pm, Wednesday 27th September 2023)
Sep 27
28 min
Surviving to Thriving?  The High Street
High streets have a double challenge; they need to cope with their own rising costs and keeping hard pressed customers spending. We hear how Barnsley’s sellers are adapting to tricky times. Is anyone able to see a path through to a thriving business? Felicity Hannah meets traders in The Glassworks, home to the town’s new redeveloped undercover market. Here she’s made a special coffee by Dave in his new café which is thriving; Katy, who’s side hustle is making candle melts to sell at the young traders monthly market & David, a butcher who’s been selling meat here for over 30 years. The programme also talks to Dr Jackie Mulligan founder & CEO, & a member of High Streets Task Force, who explains how high street businesses are fairing across the UK. Series Producer Smita Patel Editor Clare Fordham Studio Engineer by Rod Farquhar
Sep 23
28 min
Surviving or Thriving?  School
Schools are dealing with their own rising costs, but they are also coping with the impact of the cost-of-living on their pupils and their families. One primary school tells us how they’re facing up to the challenge. Can they thrive in tricky economic times? Felicity Hannah spends a day at school with Sally Herbert, Principal at Oasis Academy Harpur Mount, primary school in Manchester. She meets staff, parents and pupils to hear how the cost of living is impacting on their children’s education. The Programme also talks to education expert Laura McInErney, co-founder of Teacher Tapp, to ask what does the future look like for schools. Series Producer Smita Patel Editor Clare Fordham Studio mixed by Rod Farquhar
Sep 16
28 min
Surviving or Thriving?  Farms
Rising costs are having an impact on almost everyone, but that impact is very different for different sections of the economy. Rising food production costs are pushing up everyone’s grocery bills, and squeezing farmers’ profit margins. How are farms adapting to survive difficult times? Are any of them finding new ways to thrive? Felicity Hannah travels to South Wales to meet two farmers, both running family businesses. Kevin and Sian, who, since covid, have diversified their 200 acre mixed farm into a profit making business. And Abi who works alongside her parents and uncle on a 700 acres mixed farm of dairy, sheep, arable, and beef has seen costs spiral but has long term financial solutions for her family business to thrive again. The programme also talks to Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union which represents 47,000 farming businesses across England and Wales, to ask what does the future look like for farmers. Series Producer Smita Patel Editor Clare Fordham Studio Engineer Rod Farquhar
Sep 9
28 min
Money Box: Surviving or Thriving? Households
Rising costs are having an impact on almost everyone, but that impact is very different for different social groups. Is anyone managing to make a difference to their own budget, however small? Whether they be high earners or low income households, how are people taking control of their finances? Felicity Hannah meets Peter who lives alone in a rented flat in Stoke and has a disability that prevents him from working; Hollie, a new mum, living with her fiancé in Wigan, who’s trying to juggle money while on maternity leave with the rising costs of having a small baby. And Kishan, one of many people being bitten by monthly mortgage rate hikes. He lives in London and has three mortgages; his own plus two buy to lets. The programme also talks to Dr Gemma Tetlow Chief Economist at the Institute for Government to ask what does Peter, Hollie and Kishan’s experience tell us about the cost of living crisis across the nation. Are households surviving or thriving? Series Producer Smita Patel Editor Clare Fordham Studio Engineer Rod Farquhar
Sep 2
28 min
Money Box Live: The Mortgage Dilemma
The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates again this week, for the fourteenth consecutive time. The increase will hike the monthly repayments for anyone on a variable rate mortgage, for those trying to re-mortgage after coming off a fixed-rate and for first time buyers with new home loans. In this podcast we look at the dilemmas created by high borrowing rates. The experts in this podcast are Sonya Matharu, Senior Mortgage Broker at The Mortgage Mum and Tom Bill, Head of UK Residential Research at Knight Frank. Presenter: Sam Fenwick Producer: Amber Mehmood Researcher: Luke Smithurst Editor: Jess Quayle (First broadcast 3pm, Wednesday 2nd August, 2023)
Aug 30
28 min
Care Homes, Consumer Duty and Stamps
Care home leaders are the latest group criticising the Government for failing to get £400 of winter fuel help to the people entitled to it. The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Fund was supposed to help nearly one million households who don't pay an energy supplier directly. 20,000 households in care homes got this money, but according to new BBC Verify analysis for this programme that suggests 1 in 7 who were eligible, didn't. The government says it spent billions of pounds helping millions of households last winter with their energy bills, covering nearly half the cost of a typical household's bill. On Monday major changes begin in the way we are sold financial products and services by regulated firms like banks, insurers, advisers. Not only will they have to stick to the 20 year old rules about treating customers fairly. They will be subject to a new Consumer Duty. What is it and what does it mean? A scheme which offers debt advice and help with money problems through doctors’ surgeries, is being extended thanks to some new funding. We first reported on the trial two years ago. Since then the Centre for Responsible Credit which runs the scheme says hundreds of people have been helped to access hundreds of thousands of pounds in support. Plus, from 1st August most old first and second class stamps without barcodes are no longer valid. What should you do if you still have any old stamps? Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Dan Whitworth Researchers: Sandra Hardial and Jo Krasner Editor: Jess Quayle (First broadcast, 12pm Saturday 29th July, 2023)
Aug 26
24 min
Money Box Live: Your Rental Rights
An average of 20 potential tenants request to view each available rental home, more than triple the amount in 2019, according to data commissioned by the BBC. The queue to view is even longer in some regions, reaching 30 in the North West of England, according to the property portal Rightmove. From facing tough competition for a home to receiving a section 21 notice of eviction, we hear what renters are experiencing in the current market and we offer advice on what their rights are. The experts on the panel are Nyree Applegarth, Partner at Higgs LLP, Tim Bannister, Director at Rightmove and Ben Beadle, Chief Executive at National Residential Landlords Association. For tips on how to get ahead in the race to secure a rental property and information on your rights as a tenant go to the Tackling it Together section on the front page of the BBC News website. Presenter: Felicity Hannah Producer: Amber Mehmood Reporter: Sam Gruet Researcher: Luke Smithurst Editor: Jess Quayle (First Broadcast at 3pm, Wednesday 26th July, 2023)
Aug 23
28 min
NHS Prescriptions and Banks Defy Customers to Stop Fraud
Sick people in England are being caught out by the complex rules which exempt some from NHS prescription charges. The Patients Association says the rules surrounding the £9.65 per item levy should be simplified. The call comes after Money Box listeners told us how they struggled to navigate the rules. The NHS Business Services Authority which runs the system told us "Patients can check they are eligible for free NHS prescriptions before claiming by using the free eligibility checker at It takes just three minutes". Money Box can exclusively reveal that £55 million of fraud was prevented last year by bank and building society employees deliberately ignoring customers' instructions to transfer their money to thieves. They're allowed to do that in a branch because of what is called the banking protocol - a UK-wide law that allows staff in the branch to stop transfers and ask customers what they're doing with their money and why. We'll hear from Sophie who saved one of her customers £90,000. And, what does this week's fall in inflation really mean for your personal finances? Presenter: Paul Lewis Reporter: Dan Whitworth Researchers: Sandra Hardial and Jo Krasner Editor: Jess Quayle (First broadcast 12pm Saturday 22nd July, 2023)
Aug 19
24 min
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