Updated 20th March, 2017
EMAG exists to campaign for full government compensation. Will members of EMAG please note that because of pressure of work we regret it is not possible to answer individual written enquiries.
A short video which explains what EMAG is fighting for.
Boost for Equitable Life victims as MPs to debate compensation
Equitable Life campaigners have been given a boost in their fight for financial justice this week after securing a three-hour debate in the House of Commons.
The debate will be led by Bob Blackman, chairman of the 227-strong parliamentary group, this Thursday. He will call on Ministers to 'provide full compensation to victims of the scandal as the economy continues to recover'.
Nearly a million policyholders, including Honor Blackman, pictured, lost money as a result of the life insurer's mismanagement in the 1980s and 1990s, culminating in it's shock closure to new business in 2000. Many customers' policies were then savaged to stop the insurer going bust.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman recommended in 2008 that policyholders should be compensated in full for losses resulting from 'maladministration' - the failure of regulators and Government departments to spot the life insurer's mounting problems.
But so far the Government has paid out just £1.5 billion of the £4.1 billion lost.
Stop Press: Commons to debate further compensation
Bob Blackman MP, chair of the Equitable Life’s APPG, having secured a Commons debate on compensation for 23rd February, was summarily frustrated by the apparent urgent need for a debate on Northern Ireland in advance of its elections. In consequence our planned debate did not take place before the Budget. Finally this week, at very short notice, the new date was set: 11.30am on Thursday 23rd March for a three-hour debate in the Commons main chamber. Please, do encourage your MP to participate and speak up for the victims who have thus far been woefully short-changed.
The Motion before the House (23rd March)
“That this House welcomes the Government's acceptance in full of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's findings in relation to its maladministration with regard to Equitable Life; notes that the Parliamentary Ombudsman recommended that policyholders should be put back in the position they would have been had maladministration not occurred; further notes that the overwhelming majority of victims have only received partial compensation compared to the confirmed losses directly attributed to regulatory failures; regrets that the Government made no further funding available in the Spring Budget 2017; and calls on the Government to make a commitment to provide full compensation to victims of the scandal as the economy continues to recover.”
The latest Commons Library analysis
In advance of the debate on 16th March the Commons Library published a history of the political interface with the Equitable Life saga. Read it here.
The Treasury’s most recent letter
The Economic Secretary to The Treasury, Simon Kirky MP, wrote to the APPG on 30th January. Note a new phrase;- “…not a fixed amount of £1.5bn but rather that up to £1.5bn would be made available.”
This is utter invention – history re-written! The Treasury has continued to send out similar demoralising letter to hundreds of EMAG members and their MPs saying that there are no plans to pay any more money. They’re signed by Simon Kirby or Philip Hammond but they have in common that it's the same letter written by the same Treasury apparatchik - still working to the same brief devised by The Treasury when they were working for Gordon Brown.
ELPS compensation paid out to January 2017
Figures obtained by FoI show that the Treasury failed to trace 10% of policyholders entitled to compensation (107,647). The total compensation paid out to the located 849,584 non-WPA policies was £740 million (of the £775m designated). 38,298 with-profits annuitants have received £371 million. Separately, 9,229 pre-1992 WPAs have received a total of £48 million as ex-gratia payments. The Independent Review Panel (IRP) was closed down on 31 October and the ELPS has now been shut. The fact remains that of the £1.5bn allocated, more than £140m remains unspent.
We are gratified to note that, down to the perseverance of EMAG members, the number of MP members of the APPG has grown from 193 members last July to 227 MPs today. Is yours one?