Money Box

BBC  |  Podcast , ±29 min episodes every 5 days  | 
All that matters about money with Paul Lewis. News of savings and investments, credit cards and loans, pensions, banking, tax, benefits and giving to charity. The UK's premier weekly round-up of personal finance from the BBC.

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Energy bill special: Q&A

In this special programme we'll answer your questions and provide advice for those worried about the cost of energy.
Ofgem has announced that the typical household energy bill for people in England, Wales and Scotland will hit £3,549 a year from 1 October. People on prepayment meters will typically pay an additional £59 a year on top of that.
Adam Scorer from the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action and Kathryn Porter from Watt-Logic, an energy analyst who's worked for EDF Energy and Centrica, will answer your questions.
We'll get the latest from Westminster on what financial support people can expect this winter.
And we'll hear more on the "warm banks" being set up by councils, community groups and libraries, for people to spend time in if they can't heat their homes.

Presenter: Felicity Hannah
Reporter: Hannah Mullane
Researcher: Eimear Devlin
Editor: Jess Quayle

(First broadcast 12pm on Saturday 27th August)

Interest Free Loan Scheme to help 20,000 people

A scheme offering interest-free loans to the financially vulnerable is being expanded to reach up to 20,000 people. After a successful trial at South Manchester Credit Union the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) will be rolled out across the UK from September. It's backed by the Treasury but will be run by credit unions and other lenders. The aim is to offer emergency loans to people who would normally be turned down because they can't afford the interest payments. We'll speak to Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.

As a new survey, commissioned by the BBC, suggests half of people working are planning to increase their hours to boost their income and almost one in three people are thinking about taking a second job, we'll hear from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group about the implications for tax and benefits.

More on how thousands of people may be able to boost their state pension by paying extra National Insurance Contributions. Paying just one missing year can mean an extra £275 a year for your pension.

Plus, less than half the firms that sell funeral plans look set to be approved by the regulator when tough new rules begin in six weeks. More on how you can check yours.

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporters: Dan Whitworth and Katie Barnfield
Researcher: Sandra Hardial
Editor: Jess Quayle

(First broadcast 12pm Saturday 18th June, 2022)

Food Poverty

In England and Wales the school summer holiday is just beginning but Scotland and Northern Ireland are already well into their long and, often costly, summer.

But for some families the challenge isn’t just keeping the kids busy, it’s keeping them fed – particularly when food prices are rising.

Felicity Hannah, along with a panel of experts, are looking at what support is out there to help with food poverty and holiday hunger.


Dr Megan Blake – Senior Lecturer, Food Security Expert

Billy McGranaghan – Founder of Dad’s House

Jonathan Sharples – Community Support Worker

Reporter: Dan Whitworth

Producer: Amber Mehmood

Editor: Elisabeth Mahy

Food banks warn they are struggling to meet demand

Food banks across the UK have told Money Box they are facing increased demand, but falling donations, as the cost of living crisis bites people across the income range. This research, which took place in June, covered 116 out of 505 organisations which are part of IFAN - the Independent Food Aid Network. Those 116 organisations cover 203 food banks across the UK and 9 out of 10 of them told us they had seen an increase in demand since the start of this year. More than half said they've also seen seen food donations fall. IFAN, a registered charity and anti-poverty campaign group, helps run food banks which tend to be run by volunteers across local communities. For context, we don't know how many food banks there are in the UK, but the Trussell Trust, which has its own network of more than 1,400 of them, recently reported giving out more than 2.1 million food parcels in the year to March.

We reported on Money Box a couple of weeks ago that energy prices are expected to rise substantially in October and then again in January. But why does the price get fixed by the regulator Ofgem? Would a change in the way the market works bring bills down? We'll hear from Dr Craig Lowrey, Senior Consultant at Cornwall Insight which produces forecasts of where the price of energy is going.

Why it's not too late for pensioners to claim extra help and get the first £326 cost of living payment that is being sent out this week. (the number for claiming is 0800 991234)

Plus, new data suggests many homeowners are fixing their mortgage rates early, in the hope of securing a better deal.

Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Dan Whitworth
Researcher: Sandra Hardial
Editor: Jess Quayle

(First broadcast 12pm Saturday 23rd July, 12pm)

Gender Identity and Finance

Being transgender or non-binary means you can have a lot of extra things to manage and finances, along with the admin involved, can be a big one.

Felicity Hannah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss changing your name and gender at the bank, the lack of options when filling in forms, and raising money for medical care.


jane fae – Director – TransActual

Cleo Madeleine – Spokesperson – Gendered Intelligence

More info:

Energy costs versus incomes

Families on a low income face spending more than a quarter of the money they have left after paying their mortgage or rent on energy bills from April next year. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says it's even tougher for single people on a low income with no children, where it rises to more than two thirds. The calculations are based on latest predictions from the energy analyst Cornwall Insight, which says the typical annual bill could reach more than £3,300 in the new year. The data also shows that the government's £37 billion support package has reduced costs this year. We'll get reaction from the government, the energy regulator Ofgem, and Energy UK who represent the industry.

It's not long until school's out for summer, in England and Wales at least - Scotland and Northern Ireland are already deep into that school summer break. We'll take a look at what financial support is on offer for families to help with costs.

How rising inflation is pushing more people into higher tax bands and what you can do about it.

And the listener who paid off her mortgage, only to discover the bank had used her money to pay off someone else’s.

Presenter: Felicity Hannah
Reporter: Katie Barnfield
Researcher: Sandra Hardial
Editor: Jess Quayle

(First broadcast 12pm Saturday 16th July, 2022)


After two years of Covid restrictions, much of the world has now opened back up and plenty of us are planning to take full advantage this summer.

But what if it all goes wrong? What are you entitled to? What kind of insurance cover should you get? And how can you make sure you have a happy holiday?

Felicity Hannah, along with a panel of experts, are here to give you the answers on all things travel.


Simon Calder - travel journalist

Lisa Minot - travel editor - The Sun

Producer: Drew Hyndman and Di Richardson

Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith

How changes at the top of government could affect your money

It's been quite the week in politics and on this week's Money Box we'll take a look at what it could mean for your personal finances.
One of the biggest challenges the next PM will face is the economy and the many households feeling the squeeze.
It's thought some of the candidates favour tax cuts, but there's also pressure to increase taxes to control government borrowing.
Heather Self a tax expert at Blick Rothenberg and Tom Selby from the investment company AJ Bell will discuss.

According to a new report, out on Monday, more people are falling behind with at least one household bill as the cost of living rises.
Money Box has been given an early look at the Coronavirus Financial Impact Tracker, which suggests one-in-six households are now ‘in serious financial difficulty' compared to one-in-ten in October. Debt is also climbing - particularly among people who were already struggling. We'll speak to Professor Sharon Collard from the University of Bristol, who is one of the authors of the financial impact report which is funded by the Aberdeen Financial Fairness Trust. Plus advice from the debt charity Stepchange.

Also, if you ignore a current account for too long - can your bank really take your money? And how hard is it to get it back? Our reporter Dan Whitworth investigates.

Presenter: Felicity Hannah
Reporter: Dan Whitworth
Researcher: Sandra Hardial
Editor: Jess Quayle

(First broadcast 12pm Saturday 9th July, 2022)

The Cost of Cancer

Getting a cancer diagnosis can be a scary and fraught time, before you even begin to consider the financial pressures. Affording time out of work, the cost of getting to appointments, or even the price of drugs in different parts of the country can present issues for many.

Ruth Alexander is joined by a panel of experts to hear caller experiences of the costs of cancer.

Ceinwen Giles - Shine
Richard Pugh - Macmillan

Producer: Drew Hyndman and Amber Mehmood
Editor: Beatrice Pickup

9 episodes