Speaking after the statement by the Chief Secretary, Sir George told the House of Commons there was clearly anxiety on all sides of the House about what she proposed, and he asked for an early debate so these concerns could be followed up. He also asked for an assurance, which he did not get, that the first payemnts of compensation would be made in 2009.
"I am worried about the proposed scheme. After years of delay, I of course welcome the fact that the Government has finally admitted regulatory failings and will compensate the victims of the Equitable Life fiasco.
However, despite admitting responsibility, the Government has rejected the Ombudsman’s timetable for compensation and there is no guarantee when policyholders will receive any payments for the losses they have suffered. Indeed, some may get no compensation at all."
"In drawing up Sir John Chadwick's terms of reference for the proposed scheme, I was alarmed to see that, by suggesting that payments are means tested, the Government has ignored the conclusion of the Public Administration Select Committee in their report on Equitable Life that ‘the payment of compensation is not a matter of charity, but a requirement of justice to redress a wrong.’
Parliament now needs to see and debate the scheme that Sir John Chadwick proposes.
I will continue to push the Government in Parliament for a speedy conclusion to this disaster."