Westminster rally calls for justice for Equitable Life policy holders
26 October 2012
This week I attended a rally and parliamentary lobby organised by the Equitable Members Action Group (EMAG) – people who suffered financial losses as a result of the mismanagement of Equitable Life pensions funds.
The previous government was largely to blame for the near-collapse of Equitable and the losses suffered by its customers, because various departments and agencies had failed to regulate the company's activities properly.
EMAG members who made the journey to Parliament for the lobby want this government to act on the recommendations of the Ombudsman and improve the existing compensation scheme.
Despite making a promise to abide by the Ombudsman’s findings, the coalition decided in 2010 that only some, not all, policyholders with Equitable Life would receive a share of a total of £1.5bn in compensation.
Some compensation is obviously better than none, but the money offered is nowhere near the Ombudsman’s recommended figure of between 4 and 4.8 billion pounds.
What’s more, ten thousand people who hold pre 1992 with-profits annuities have been arbitrarily excluded from the compensation scheme entirely.
It is perhaps no surprise that compensation delivery, such that it is, is being bungled as it is being outsourced by National Savings and Investments to none other than Atos – whose sister company is well known for its appalling record in dealing with the Work Capability Assessments for disability benefits.
EMAG members are reporting that Atos continue to perform abysmally, while thousands of Equitable victims have yet to achieve any clarity about whether they will receive any compensation.
During the rally, EMAG showed a powerful and important film highlighting the effects of this decision on individual lives.
I took the opportunity to call on the new minister, Sajid Javid, to listen and to right the injustices that many constituents travelled to Westminster to highlight.