Public Administration Select Committee: Press Notices

9 February 2009

PASC TO QUESTION TREASURY MINISTER ON EQUITABLE LIFE

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has re-opened its inquiry into Equitable Life. This follows the Government’s response last month to a report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

At a session on Wednesday 11 February at 11.00am in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, PASC will hear from Ian Pearson MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

At PASC’s last public meeting on this subject, the Government’s response was described as “overall … unsatisfactory” by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, as “wholly inadequate” by Equitable Life, and as “totally unacceptable” by Equitable Members’ Action Group (EMAG).

The session is likely to focus on the Minister’s reaction to these concerns, on the detail of the Government’s proposals, and on the wider impact of the Equitable Life saga.

Background

In July last year, the Ombudsman made ten findings of maladministration against the prudential regulators of Equitable Life and the Government Actuary’s Department. In December, PASC published a report, Justice Delayed, supporting the Ombudsman and calling on the Government to set up an independent tribunal to pay compensation for losses suffered as a result of official maladministration. PASC’s Report is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/pasceql

The Government has accepted some of the Ombudsman’s findings, and has apologised for the findings it has accepted. However, the Government has rejected a number of the Ombudsman’s findings, and does not propose to establish a compensation scheme to make good the losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders-even those that occurred as a result of the maladministration it accepts took place. Instead, the Government has indicated that it will make ex gratia payments to some of the policyholders to make up some of their losses, and there have been suggestions that these payments may be means-tested.

For more information about the work of the Committee, visit our website at: www.parliament.uk/pasc

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

Media Enquiries Jessica Bridges-Palmer, 020 7219 0724, [email protected]

Specific Committee Information: Email: [email protected] Tel: 020 7219 3284

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/pasc

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