The Times letter urging compensation for wind-up victims
by Dr. Ros Altmann
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All credit to Patience Wheatcroft for highlighting the human cost of the UK company pensions crisis. The Courts Director who took his own life, after the shock of losing his pension, is a tragic reminder of the urgency of compensating those similarly affected. There are still tens of thousands of Britons who will not get the pension on which they had relied for a decent retirement, having believed and trusted Government advice. This Government should understand that such pensions were a fundamentally important part of people’s lives. Members contributed every month during their working years, on the understanding that their retirement would be taken care of. The Government encouraged them to belong and assured them that their contributions were safe (or even ‘guaranteed’ as the FSA put it!) and protected by the law. How can we, as a society, then just turn our backs on them and tell them that actually their pensions were not really safe, nor protected by the law?
We must show that we, as a nation, do not believe it right for decent, hard-working people to be left without their pensions, after trusting official assurances of safety which proved to be false. The cruel deception of the Financial Assistance Scheme and the Government’s attempts to pass the costs of recent failures onto other employers running defined benefit schemes, are unacceptable. The Treasury must take responsibility for this injustice, before more good people’s lives are lost.