Farepak

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 29th November 2006.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Labour, Bridgend 11:30 am, 29th November 2006

What discussions he has had with Assembly and Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the collapse of Farepak in Wales.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I have had a number of such discussions, because the Farepak collapse has been devastating for thousands of Welsh families.

Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Labour, Bridgend

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Eighty families in my constituency have benefited from loans of up to £400 and £500, thanks to Valleys to Coast Housing's giving a £15,000 interest-free loan to the credit union. Some 139 new members have now joined the credit union, and Peter Morgan estate agents is also raising money and collecting gifts. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is quite a contrast with the parsimony of HBOS and the Farepak directors, who took savers' money to save their champagne lifestyles?

r

sadly a loan although a lifeline cannot make up for the loss of money. It is especially sad as many of the people who invested money with Farpak were doing so to avoid debt. I recall that when my parents lost they Christmas fund do to theft of there thrift fund, that it took many years for them to recover, as they were left with...

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I agree with the point that my hon. Friend makes. What has happened to Farepak customers is absolutely scandalous, and HBOS should ensure that it donates to the Farepak response fund. It has only six hours left to do so, so let it get on with it.

Photo of Anne Snelgrove Anne Snelgrove PPS (Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State), Department of Health

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the statement issued by unfarepak.co.uk—a network of young mums, 90 per cent. of whom are on low incomes, who are calling for a boycott of HBOS? Does he agree that HBOS does indeed have six hours to pay into the response fund more than the £2 million in interest that it made from Farepak, or accept the consequences?

r

Whilst I totally agree with the sentiment of Ann's comment, It might be seen as Blackmail by some people. The fact remains that the law needs to be tightened considerable to avoid this happening again. I wonder how this will...

Submitted by ross warren Continue reading

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

All Members of this House will echo the sentiments expressed by my hon. Friend, and I pay tribute to her and to my hon. Friend Mr. Devine for the tireless way in which they targeted HBOS, ensured that the Farepak scandal was brought to the public's attention, and ensured that attempts were made to resolve the situation and to fill the funding gap that was so scandalously left.