Equitable Life

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st July 2015.

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Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Justice Committee 11:30 am, 21st July 2015

What steps he is taking to ensure as many policy- holders as possible are identified before the Equitable Life payment scheme closes to new claimants on 31 December 2015.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Equitable Life payment scheme has already gone to great lengths to find policyholders, including checking against credit histories, a national advertising campaign and sending letters to last-known addresses. Thanks to that, almost 90% of policyholders have been paid. Where possible the scheme is now tracing all those remaining who are due £50 or more against DWP, national insurance numbers and address records.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Justice Committee

I accept that this Government and their predecessor have done much—more than anybody before did—to right an injustice that was done. But Equitable Life policyholders were victims of a regulatory failure, for which ultimately government is responsible. As the economy grows, is it not time, out of decency and fairness towards that diminishing group of elderly people, to revisit the amount to be paid in compensation?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I am sure that my hon. Friend will welcome the fact that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, in his excellent summer Budget, did in fact announce that all eligible non-annuitant policyholders in receipt of pension credit will see their lump sum payments doubled.