Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition Government has committed to implementing the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s recommendation to make “fair and transparent” payments to Equitable Life victims.
The coalition agreement, published last week, sets out that the Government will establish an independent payment scheme to compensate Equitable Life policyholders for their relative loss “as a consequence of regulatory failure”.
Equitable Members’ Action Group spokesman Paul Weir says:”We welcome the new Government’s commitment to implement the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report in full. After 10 years of denial and obstruction by the previous administration it has been a long time coming.
“Sadly, many thousands of Equitable pensioners have died without justice, sacrificed on the altar of Gordon Brown’s defence of ’light-touch’ regulation.”
Both parties’ manifestos committed to fair compensation for Equitable Life victims. The Tories vowed in April to compensate Equitable Life policyholders and families of deceased investors if elected with rapid payouts that would not be means tested, totaling as much as £1bn.
In January 2009, the Labour Government rejected a substantial number of Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham’s findings of maladministration and injustice. It commissioned Sir John Chadwick to devise ex-gratia payment scheme within limited guidelines. Emag withdrew from working with Chadwick’s review of compensation in March, labelling his work a “Treasury stitch-up”. The group won a High Court challenge last year, which found the Treasury’s brief to Chadwick was unlawful and forced the remit to cover all investments back to 1991 rather than 1999.