Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report into the Government’s handling of Equitable Life
The Parliamentary Ombudsman recently published her report into the Government’s handling of Equitable Life. I have received a number of letters and emails from people who lost out as a result of this scandal wanting to know my response to the report.
First of all, it is worth noting that the Conservative Party forced the Government to extend the Ombudsman’s remit to enable her to undertake her investigation. The report identifies serial regulatory failures including between 1998 and 2001, when the Treasury had responsibility for the regulation of Equitable Life, and makes it clear that prompt action then could have avoided the hardship that so many people have subsequently suffered.
The Ombudsman makes two recommendations. The first is that the Government makes a public apology for maladministration. The second is that because policyholders suffered losses due to the maladministration, they should receive payment from the Government. I believe that the Government should accept these recommendations and I am pleased to say that the Conservative Party nationally has confirmed that it will be putting sustained pressure on the Government to do so. It has also made it clear that if the Government refuse to accept the recommendations then, should we be successful at the next Election, we will.