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Govt to respond to Equitable Life report in Parliament next week

The Government is expected to respond to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report calling for compensation for Equitable Life victims in Parliament next week.

Speaking to MPs at a public administration committee hearing into Equitable Life today, economic secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson said he “anticipated” the Government’s response would be next week.

Pearson was grilled by MPs over the nature of the Government’s response, but declined to give any details.

MPs also sought assurances that the response would not be on the last day of Parliamentary business before recess.

Labour MP for Newport West Paul Flynn said: “Are you conscious of the possible cynicism that might arise if the announcement is made on the final day next week?”

Pearson said: “I am certainly aware of that and I would like it if we had been able to be make an announcement earlier, but these are very complicated issues and it has taken some time to resolve them within Government.”

When challenged by an MP over whether he was prepared to apologise on behalf of the Government to Equitable Life victims, Pearson said that he did not want to pre-empt the Government’s official response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings.

Pearson also admitted nearly “drifting off” while reading through the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s 500-plus page report.

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