Equitable Life

Having been in the House of Commons to listen to the recent statement by the Financial Secretary on compensation payments for those affected by the failings of Equitable Life, I thought I’d lay out some thoughts on a subject which affects so many people in East Surrey. To begin with, I think we should welcome the swiftness with which the Coalition has got on with the task of setting in motion the process for compensation. Equitable Life victims have been waiting a long time for justice, and now the end is in sight. We should give credit where credit is due. The Financial Secretary was reporting on the work done by Sir John Chadwick, who made a first stab at coming up with a compensation figure. I would stress that these are preliminary figures and the Financial Secretary has said that there is further work to be done before a final estimate can be produced. But I fully understand that some of Sir John’s findings will be contentious. Indeed, personally, I am particularly underwhelmed by this first attempt at establishing a compensation figure by Sir John, but perhaps this was to be expected given his original terms of reference. Whilst I think we all, including the Parliamentary Ombudsman, accept that the final payment amount will be subject to public purse affordability – and must be given the perilous state of the public finances – I’ll be campaigning for Equitable Life victims to get the compensation they deserve.