There is no doubt that Sajid Javid is one of the Government's rising stars. Recently appointed as Economic Secretary to the Treasury to become George Osborne's right–hand man, some say the former banker who became an MP in 2010 ‘to help people’ is destined for political greatness.
That may well turn out to be the case, but Javid's credentials as a man of the people will certainly be tested in the next couple of months when he has to make a couple of key decisions affecting thousands of lives...
Last Thursday, representatives from the Equitable Members' Action Group, organisers of Wednesday's event, met Javid to call again for proper compensation. Let's hope Javid, a man of the people remember, will oblige by lancing the Equitable Life boil once and for all and paying these elderly victims the compensation they deserve.
Jeff Prestridge, Mail on Sunday, 28th October 2012
EMAG argues that denying payments sends out the worst possible signal when the Government is introducing its compulsory workplace savings schemes in an attempt to push people to save more. "After what happened to us, how can anybody have confidence that their money will even be there for them when they come to retire?" Mr Weir said. "Unless the Government shows it is prepared to do the right thing for people who tried to save responsibly for their own retirement, my advice is: Don't bother."
Miles Costello, The Times 22 October, 2012
Policyholders are still waiting for details of compensation
HUNDREDS of desperate Equitable Life policyholders are still waiting for details of their compensation months after it was promised. Last year the government said £1.5 billion would be paid to almost one million victims of the insurer's near–collapse more than a decade ago and promised that confirmation of their expected payout would be sent out by the end of June...payments are being made in no particular order — neither alphabetical nor according to when the policy was bought — and some people have been told they may have to wait until April 2014 for their money...
Sunday Times, 30th September, 2012
Barely a day goes by without Financial Mail being contacted by an Equitable Life policyholder distressed that they have yet to receive a penny of compensation promised under a £1billion-plus scheme put together by the Government in late 2010.
Most are elderly, distressed and desperate for the compensation that they thought they would have received by now. They feel cheated — and quite rightly so.
The group of policyholders suffering the most are those who bought ‘with–profits’ annuities with Equitable Life and who have seen their retirement income slashed over the years as a result of the mutual's board taking drastic action to stop the business from bankrupting itself.
Although these policyholders were meant to be given priority under the scheme arrangements, they haven't been.
According to the Equitable Members' Action Group, 30 per cent of them have yet to receive any compensation — and that is pushing to one side the Government's spiteful decision to exclude 10,000 annuitants (pre–1992 annuitants) from compensation altogether on spurious grounds.
Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, seems to think all is going well with the distribution of compensation, but he is living in cloud cuckoo land.
Older people who saved hard for their retirement, only to be let down byn a breakdown in regulatory scrutiny at Equitable, are being let down a second time.
Compensation should be paid promptly to those most in need — and in the case of Equitable annuitants to all victims, not just a proportion of them determined by some bean counter in a Treasury back office.
Mail on Sunday 29th July, 2012 By Jeff Prestridge
Equitable Lifers fear payout delay
Victims fear they won't receive their compensation by the June deadline.
Policyholders with the collapsed life insurer Equitable Life fear that the Government will miss its June 30 deadline for all affected people to receive details of their compensation.
More than a quarter of a million payments have been made to date, but the Equitable Members Action Group (Emag) said that, with only four weeks to go, the Treasury has a lot of ground to make up. Around a million people need to be contacted with a statement explaining whether they will get compensation, how much they will receive and when they can expect it.
The Treasury has seen a massive surge in complaints this year because of the Equitable redress scheme. Chloe Smith, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said in a parliamentary written answer that the Treasury had had 382 complaints in the financial year ending in April 2012. In the previous year it received just one, she said. All but one in 2011/12 relate to the Equitable Life Payments Scheme.
Paul Weir, chairman of Emag (sic), said many policyholders were deeply disappointed by the cheques they were receiving, and that many had merely received letters asking for proof of address. He added that many policyholders found it difficult to work out how their losses had been calculated from the letters that they received.
Telegraph 2 June 2012.
We were forced to sell our home
As two victims of the Equitable Life scandal we endorse Mr Downes' call for proper compensation from the Government.
The effect of the admitted mis–regulation by the Government has been catastrophic on our lives. We worked for and saved for over 50 years and have seen our pensions fall from £5840 pa to £2963 8 years later. This fall of 50% is made worse by rising inflation every year.
In 2001 we were forced to sell our Cotswold home and move into a mobile home because our pension had been savaged. Today the annual fall in our income and the rise in inflation have really struck our living standards. My wife and I are now nearly 80 yrs old and I do not have good health and I am worried how she will manage if I die since she will then receive only two-thirds of a falling pension… if there is any let?
I worked until I was 65yrs old including 5 years in the RAF. We were brought up to be responsible citizens and save even though we were raising 2 children. We relied on the Government guarantee that our pension was regulated.
The Government has after 10 years now admitted liability for the collapse of our pension provider. They say by their own calculations victims are owed £4.5bn but refuse to fully compensate us for our losses and will pay an average of 22%. My wife and I will get NOTHING because we took our pension on the 31 August 1992. Had we taken it ONE DAY later we would get 100%. The Treasury has deliberately ignored the specific recommendation of the Parliamentary Ombudsman to include the 10,000 pre–September 1992 pensioners in the compensation scheme. We and many thousands of other are too old to make up this shortfall in our pensions.
The politicians have quickly forgotten the pre-election promises and Queens Speech which promised victims proper compensation. Our MP (Sajid Javid) has been polite but no effective help. At a public meeting of victims he said ‘I don't need your votes’. It is this callous disregard for people that contributes to the increasing loss of faith in our democratic process. Many fellow victims will die before they get the final part of their derisory compensation in 5 years' time.
We know that the money is there for projects the Government wish to support. The Olympics will cost at least £9 bn, 4 times the original budget. This huge expenditure will regenerate part of London but will not benefit other parts of England. We cannot afford to visit our grandchildren 100 miles away let alone go to London. Billions are also printed to support banks here and abroad.
Mature Times 19 March 2012
Nine in ten victims of the Equitable Life scandal who are owed compensation have still not been paid, according to official figures
Equitable Life row over pay delay for policyholders owed compensation. Nine in ten victims of the Equitable Life scandal who are owed compensation have still not been paid, according to official figures. The Treasury said more than £70m has been paid to 96,000 policyholders who lost money after the Equitable nearly collapsed in 2000. But it means that around 90 per cent of the 982,000 victims have yet to be compensated since the payments started in June last year.
The Treasury last month moved to speed up the process amid mounting anger from campaigners. Paul Weir of the Equitable Members Action Group said: ‘The Treasury failed to put the people in place to be ready to start properly in June 2011, which is why they are having to run so hard to catch up. Elderly pensioners are dying while they dither.’
The near–collapse of Equitable, once regarded as the best managed private pension company, is the longest running financial scandal of recent times. After a decade of wrangling under the last government, the Coalition promised to pay £1.5bn to victims.
The figures show that 11,000 of the 37,000 with profits annuitants, or 30 per cent, have received a total of £9.3m. But only 85,000 of the remaining 945,000 policy holders, or 9 per cent, have received payment.
EMAG's Paul Braithwaite added: ‘For many this is a case of too little too late. Victims were promised by the Coalition that compensation would be fair, swift and transparent — it's none of those things. We have heard from the partners of a number of annuitants who have died before receiving anything.’
Daily Mail, 6 February 2012