Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP announced today that the Coalition Government has published the final report by Sir John Chadwick in relation to losses suffered as a result of Government maladministration in the regulation of Equitable Life.
Mark Hoban said that:
Sir John’s work is an important building block to help the Government understand how maladministration led to relative losses at Equitable Life and how that loss can be quantified. Sir John has put in a lot of time and effort into the report over the last eighteen months. It has been a complex and challenging task and the Government is grateful to him for his dedication and professionalism.
There is a wealth of information in Sir John’s report and it is important to consider it all carefully. However, this Government has always made it clear that Sir John’s review is just one of the building blocks in resolving what is a complex matter and that there are other judgments to be made in determining the final shape of the scheme.
The Government is also aware that some of his findings are contentious and because of this, and the complexity of the methodology, it will reflect on his report and will listen to representations by interested parties ahead of the Autumn Spending Review.
In addition, as the Ombudsman noted in her report, it is appropriate to consider the impact of any scheme on the public purse. The scheme will be a significant spending commitment for this Government and cannot be considered in isolation from the other spending decisions that it will need to make over the coming months, and what is affordable in that context.
The Government will therefore be setting out the funding available for the scheme at the Spending Review on 20th October.
Mark Hoban continued:
For almost a decade, Equitable Life policyholders have fought for a just resolution in relation to losses suffered as a result of regulatory failure. Unlike the previous Government, we are committed to compensating these policyholders. In two years, the previous administration did hardly anything to resolve the situation. But in just over two months, this Government has confirmed that we are committed to a swift, fair and transparent payment scheme, introduced a Bill and set up an independent commission to decide upon the design of the payment scheme.
As I said at the start, I have long been a strong advocate of ending the plight of Equitable Life policyholders. Like you, I want to see a swift response, but also one that is transparent and fair to all policyholders, and the taxpayer. I believe that the steps I have outlined today take us closer to achieving this.
Notes for Editors
In the Coalition agreement, the Government stated that it would implement the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s recommendation to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policyholders, through an independent payment scheme, for their relative loss as a consequence of regulatory failure.
On May 26 2010 the Government announced that it would introduce a Bill to enable payments to be made to Equitable Life policyholders, as well as the intention to establish an Independent Commission. The announcements being made today show real progress in the Government’s commitment to deliver on its pledge.
In January 2009, Sir John Chadwick was commissioned to advise the previous Government on a number of issues in relation to determining relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders and the impact of those losses.
Sir John’s final report brings together over a year of work.
Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.