I’ve blogged before about the Equitable Life scandal.
And I’ve heard first-hand the experiences of some of my constituents who lost out. So I’m glad that my Lib Dem colleagues in Parliament are continuing to fight for justice for Equitable Life investors.
My colleague Jo Swinson MP addressed Westminster Hall on the issue last November. She told MPs: “No more delays, no more dodging the issue. The time has come for the Government to face up to its responsibilities to Equitable Life policyholders.” We’re still waiting.
Since then, Jo has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 215), which calls on the Government “to give a public response without delay to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s recommendations and set out a timetable for action.”
At the time of writing, our local Labour MP Emily Thornberry has not signed the EDM.
Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable has also been on the case. Last week, he called on the Government to instigate a fast-track compensation scheme for Equitable Life investors.
Perhaps the MPs like Emily Thornberry who are not backing Lib Dem calls for compensation think the money can be better spent elsewhere. If so, they are missing the point. This isn’t an anti-poverty measure. It’s about justice.
Unlike some of the city speculators who have been bailed out, Equitable Life investors were doing the right thing: saving in a respectable, Government-regulated, scheme.
Having bailed out so many banks, the Government must not treat Equitable Life victims any less favourably.
There is a real risk that Labour will try to use the financial crisis as an excuse to renege on their obligations to Equitable Life investors. We must not let that happen.