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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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BANFF & BUCHAN EQUITABLE LIFE MEMBERS LET DOWN BY “ARBITRARY DECISIONS”

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has expressed disappointment that local residents who lost out in the Equitable Life fiasco have been let down by “arbitrary decisions” made by the coalition government.

Commenting on the Equitable Life (Payments) Bill, Dr Whiteford said that whilst she acknowledged the government had moved quickly to tackle the matter, the good work had been undermined by the overall cap on compensation and the inexplicable decision to withhold compensation from pre 1992 With Profits annuitants.

Commenting on the passing of the Bill Dr Whiteford said

“I acknowledge that the government have moved quickly and provided much more than the previous government, but they have not honoured their pre election promise to abide by the whole of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.”

“The good work done is being undermined by arbitrary decisions to impose and overall cap on compensation, which could lead to some members losing almost 80% of what they should have received. This is blatantly unfair and will hit many local pensioners very hard .”

“The decision to refuse any compensation to those who took out annuities prior to 1992 is even more bizarre. The minister’s explanation amounted to arguing that if maladministration occurred before members knew about it then that was OK. This is patent nonsense. Anyone who was affected by the maladministration should have been included for compensation.”

“Debating the bill has been a frustrating experience since the big elephant in the room has been the overall cap on compensation imposed by the Treasury, which is not in the bill. At the end of this process many policyholders will still feel very aggrieved, and rightly so.”

“Policyholders have been let down by the previous government who failed to do anything for ten years and by the present government who have undermined the compensation scheme. The failure of Parliament to fully follow the recommendations of our own Ombudsman also does nothing to repair the reputation of politics.”

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