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Equitable Life starts paying out - at last

It has taken far too long and the scheme is still too tightly drawn but at last Equitable Life policyholders know when the compensation they have argued for a decade will start to flow.

The Treasury this morning confirmed that payments will start before the end of June and a separate website has been set-up to explain how the payments have been worked out and who will get them. I fully expect some bitter complaints from the many vociferous and articulate campaigners who will continue to press for a more generous deal but I do not expect the government to be moved any further on this. The Tories and the Liberal Democrats will view that they have delivered their manifesto promises to provide fair compensation for the people who lost out when Equitable Life collapsed and to have done so as quickly as possible after the years of avoidance and procrastination by the previous government.

Of more interest should be a proper debate about what needs to be put into the new regulatory system now being formulated to ensure that if such a collapse occurs in the future policyholders are better protected and compensated much faster. Personally, I am not naive enough to imagine that we will ever create a regulatory system that prevents failure so the key has to be on how protect the victims when the inevitable does happen.

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