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The problem is education and not regulation

The February issue of Which? magazine published a half-decent report on the “care home crisis” without mentioning high increases in indemnity insurance premiums directly arising from its pursuit of the compensation culture.

It is a grave disservice to consumers to pretend that unlimited compensation claims are unrelated to other areas of consumer interest such as care home closures.

The same issue offers a good guide to the small claims court without suggesting that all compensation claims below £5,000 should be heard before a district judge.

This would unravel all claims based on false evidence supported by retrospective regulation.

Future Governments of an illiberal nature will use the precedent of the FSA overruling Lautro&#39s six-year rule on record retention to act against the liberties of the individual, with serious consequences for every consumer lifestyle. Justice should prevail over consumerism.

It is reported that Prudential&#39s chief has said that one-third of all its payouts go to lawyers (Anthony Hilton in the Evening Standard), which is an indication of how far the consumerist culture of blame and litigation has taken root and backs up Brian Foster&#39s recent letter in Money Marketing.

The end result of 17 years of regulation, consumerism and Treasury interference has been the disappearance of companies and intermediaries, leaving consumers stranded, faced with high fees for advice.

Nearly all endowment and pensionholders have funds to choose among but no one to guide them on which to select or how. Whereas Which? once suggested premium increases, it now goes for compensation, with a ready market among those cast adrift without free service.

Current Which? advice concerning money market, UK gilts or property is welcome and demonstrates that the problem all along has been education and not regulation.

We have single-issue consumerism leading to single-issue regulation trumpeted by a media trusted by only 25 per cent of the public (European Commission, issue 51, spring 1999), with Which? joining the circulation battle without following through where its advice finally leads.

Roy Bennett




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