It almost seems as if there is never going to be an end to the Equitable Life saga. Last week’s announcement by Treasury minister Yvette Cooper just prolongs the agony and reinforces the feeling of “justice delayed is justice denied”.
Appointing yet another judge who knows little of the background and nothing of the detail of the decade of woes that have afflicted Equitable Life and its policyholders makes no sense when so many other routes were available. To hand him such a poisoned chalice is just reprehensible.
Why is it a poisoned chalice? The brief that Sir John Chadwick has taken on has no logic, no sense of natural justice and looks doomed to generate ill-feeling, discontent and, probably, legal review. He has, in effect, been given a hardship fund to administer, although he has been given no money to distribute. Ms Cooper’s outlining of a scheme that will help only those who have been “disproportionately affected” without any clear guidance and any money being put on the table will dismay those policyholders out of pocket. You do have to admire the bare-faced hypocrisy of the minister in standing up and apologising for the well-documented failings of government and regulators and then effectively sticking two fingers up at the policyholders.
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