The independent action group for current and ex Equitable Life policyholders, funded by contributions.

Equitable Members Action Group

Equitable Members Action Group Limited, a company limited by guarantee, number 5471535 registered in the UK

Media Stories: 18/04/2006 - FT reports that OP group exploring litigating against government

Norma Cohen, Financial Times 18th April, 2006


“Pensions refusal by ministers to face legal test

A group representing 85,000 pension scheme members who lost retirement savings when their employers became insolvent plans to seek a judicial review of the government's refusal to honour the Parliamentary Ombudsman's recommendation that each member receive full restitution of losses and additional compensation.

Ros Altmann, a specialist in pensions economics who was independent adviser to the group, said that offers of pro bono legal advice had been received from law firms that had expressed indignation at the government's refusal to accept responsibility for badly flawed pensions policy…………

Separately, Ms Altmann said she would be presenting a case in Brussels on April 25 to the European Parliamentary Petitions Commission on behalf of Maurice Jones, 66, a sole, representative claimant. The group will ask Brussels to force the UK to comply with European pensions legislation.

"Government is ignoring the decent, hard-working citizens of this country and treating people who play by the rules and take their responsibilities seriously with utter contempt," said Ms Altmann, explaining why the group was pressing on in its quest for restitution. Ms Altmann said that several of those who had lost their retirement benefits had already died.

The government's Financial Assistance Scheme, intended to provide some compensation to those who have lost out, falls far short of what is needed to provide restitution. The FAS has provided aid to fewer than 100 people, some of whom have lost not only their occupational pension benefits but their entitlement to certain state benefits as well.

In March, the office of the Ombudsman released a 254-page report, which uncovered evidence of suffering, distress and uncertainty about the future among pension scheme members and their families, who had relied on government information when making choices about their pension provision.

The investigation found ministers ignored advice from the actuarial profession that the standards it set for scheme funding were too weak to protect pension promises.”