Breathtaking double standards offering 100% compensation to Northern Rock depositors

by Dr. Ros Altmann

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100% compensation at taxpayers' expense for Northern Rock savers – what about the people who lost their pensions?

Please think for a moment about how the Labour Government has treated the people who did everything society wants of them, have been begging for justice for years, have had all the verdicts in their favour and yet are still struggling without their pensions. 

  1. Northern Rock savers were not told by the Government that their money was completely safe and protected by law
  1. Northern Rock savers knew they were only covered by an insurance scheme that protected them up to around £35,000 each (and only 90% not 100%),
  1. Northern Rock savers had a choice as to where to put their money
  1. Northern Rock savers were allowed to withdraw their money at any time – nobody has lost a penny of their life savings

Result:

  • Northern Rock savers have had their savings fully underwritten by the taxpayer, up to unlimited amounts
  1. Members of final salary pension schemes which failed after 1997 and before the Pension Protection Fund started had no idea that their pensions were not completely safe – they believed Government assurances that their pensions were 'guaranteed', as so many official publications claimed
  1. These members of final salary pension schemes were assured by the Government – by this Chancellor himself – that their pensions were totally safe and protected by law, even after Alistair Darling was warned by the actuarial profession in 1999 that members had no idea they were not really protected at all and should be told
  1. These final salary pension scheme members were not allowed to have any other pension and were totally relying on their company scheme for a decent retirement – once in their company scheme most could not have another pension
  1. The Parliamentary Ombudsman said the Government should pay 100% compensation, plus damages for their stress and distress suffered over the years they have been fighting and begging for justice

Result:

  • The Government has consistently said taxpayers cannot be expected to compensate the victims of this scandal and the Financial Assistance Scheme only offers some of them (not all schemes are included!) about 65% of the pension they have lost

The bottom line:
It is time for the Chancellor to immediately promise to pay all the victims at least the same as they would receive from the Pension Protection Fund – no more ifs or buts, just do it!


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