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Equitable Life pension savers given hope by High Court ruling

16 October 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Savers who had their pension with collapsed provider Equitable Life have been given more hope of receiving compensation following a High Court ruling that has supported the Ombudsman's findings in favour of campaigners.

Last year, an investigation by the Parliamentary Ombudsman into Equitable Life found that the Government had failed to adequately protect policy holders and called for a compensation fund for more than one million pension policyholders.

Campaigners have been fighting for compensation for policyholders since Equitable Life tried to abandon its guaranteed payment plan in 1999; they were rewarded with the findings of the report which found the Government liable to repay pension holders who lost their savings.

The Government disputed some of the findings and agreed to pay compensation on limited grounds, but the High Court ruling this week quashed these objections and will see more people covered by the compensation scheme than the Government intended.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable welcomed the ruling to overturn the Government's "baseless rejection" of the Ombudsman's report.

He blames the Labour Government of "disgraceful foot-dragging" which has "compelled the misery of former policyholders, who have been treated in an unjust fashion".

Mr Cable added that 331 MPs from all sides of the House have backed a motion urging the Government to accept the recommendations from the Ombudsman to compensate Equitable Life policyholders.

The government has 21 days to respond to the High Court ruling, and to decide if it wants to appeal the decision. 

© Fair Investment Company Ltd