ROBERT WALTER MP is calling on any constituents who had pensions with Equitable Life to make sure they get the compensation promised to them by the Government before it is too late.
The Equitable Life Payments Scheme was set up by the Coalition in 2011 to pay up to £1.5 billion to victims of the Equitable Life scandal. But many people have moved without giving their new address and an alarming number seem to be unaware that they are entitled to a payment. Despite the Treasury’s extension of the deadline from 2014 to 2015, many pensioners are still at risk of remaining unpaid.
Potentially there are more than 400 people in North Dorset alone missing out on thousands of pounds in compensation. Nationally the figure is close to 200,000.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman found that UK financial regulators had failed the firm’s customers every single year throughout the 1990s. In 2008, she published a report entitled ‘A decade of Regulatory Failure’. She called on the government to pay compensation to the victims of the scandal but it was not until 2010 that the new government committed in the coalition agreement to making “swift, fair and transparent payments” to the 1.5 million pensioners affected.
As at 31 August 2013, the Scheme has made payments out totaling £734 million to 548,359 policyholders.
“The Government listened to the concerns of Equitable Life policy holders earlier this year and announced an extension to the Equitable Life Payments Scheme to mid-2015 from the original shut down date of April 2014. This action is to enable as many Equitable Life policy holders as possible to receive the payment due to them.
“However, although hundreds of thousands of people have now received a compensation cheque, about 20 per cent remain untraced and if people don’t get their claim in in time they will miss out.
“It would be such a shame if, having worked all their lives, these pensioners miss out on the money that has been allocated to them tax-free, so I’m urging all of my constituents with Equitable Life policies to find out now whether or not they are eligible.”