John Redwood criticises further Equitable Life delays

John Redwood has criticised the Government for delaying even further on the issue of compensation for Equitable Life policyholders who lost out as a result of regulatory failure. Speaking during the debate on an Urgent Question demanding a statement on the Government’s progress yesterday, John asked for an idea of how much would be paid, and on what basis payments would be made, but did not get a satisfactory response.

The exchange, taken from Hansard, now follows:

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): How much compensation does the Minister envisage for his ex gratia scheme? I do not suppose that he has put a penny in his budget for this year or for next, so I do not believe that he intends to pay any.

Mr. Byrne: That is not an estimate that I shall present to the House this afternoon; it is something that I shall look at when Sir John presents his initial recommendations.

In a letter to Equitable Life policyholders in Wokingham, John wrote:

“Several of us asked for a deadline for the development of the scheme and for the payments under it. I also asked for some idea of how much would be paid, and on what basis to the losers. The Minister would not answer any of these basic points. Even the Labour MPs present were astonished at the Government’s insouciance and asked the Minister to hurry up and secure payments for those who have lost out.

I am afraid the Government seems happy to wait for more delay and I think it is unlikely that any payments will be made before the next General Election.”