Government fails Equitable Life victims

October 23, 2009 4:08 PM
Mark and his Liberal Democrat colleagues have always stood up for pensioners, and those affected by the Equitable Life injustice.

Mark and his Liberal Democrat colleagues have always stood up for pensioners, and those affected by the Equitable Life injustice

Local MP Mark Hunter has again spoken out on behalf of many equitable life policy holders in the Cheadle constituency this Wednesday (21st October) in the House of Commons. The debate was part of a Liberal Democrat Opposition Day motion called by Vince Cable, which was narrowly defeated by the Government.

The Equitable Life fiasco involved more than 1 million policyholders that lost out financially because of regulatory and Government "maladministration" that resulted in the insurer's near collapse in 2000. Two and a half years ago the Parliamentary Ombudsman produced a report that recommended the Government compensated policy holders that had been affected by the saga, but the Government rejected her findings.

Mr Hunter who had spoken out previously on the issue voiced the anger of many Equitable Life policyholders when challenging Minister Liam Byrne on why the Government was ignoring the Ombudsman and failing to grant compensation to those in the Cheadle constituency that have had their pensions halved thanks to Government maladministration.

More than 300 MPs from all sides of the House, including 113 Labour MPs, have previously backed an Early Day Motion that is virtually identical to the motion defeated on Wednesday. But when it came to the test many Labour MPs decided to vote against justice for Equitable Life policyholders, meaning that the Government were under no obligation to compensate Equitable Life's victims.

Commenting after the vote, Mark said:

"This was an extremely disappointing result and a further blow to the millions of policyholders who have lost up to half their pensions whilst waiting for the Government to do the right thing.

"Like the many constituents that have been in touch with me on this issue, I am angry and frustrated at the Government's persistent denial of justice on this issue. In an area like ours this is a huge blow taking into account the high numbers of pensioners.

"The failure to organise a system of compensation nine years after the event and two-and-a-half years after the Ombudsman completed her report identifying maladministration is a cynical victory for Treasury foot-dragging at the expense of large numbers of pensioners."

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