THE plight of thousands of pensioners who are shut out of a £1.5 billion Equitable Life compensation scheme was highlighted in a demonstration outside Parliament yesterday.
Actress Honor Blackman, who had a pension with the mutual, which was brought to its knees more than a decade ago, spoke at the rally organised by the Equitable Members Action Group (Emag).
The group is lobbying the government over a decision to leave 10,000 people out of the compensation scheme because they bought their annuities before a cut-off point in 1992.
Speaking just weeks after the government launched a landmark scheme that will see up to ten million people eventually placed in a workplace pension, former Bond girl and Avengers star Ms Blackman said the scandal had tarnished people’s faith in pension saving.
“After what happened to us, why would anybody in their right mind bother to save for a pension?” she said, adding: “I pity the poor suckers who join the government’s new Nest pension scheme. What guarantee is there that the money will even be there for them when they come to retire?”
The government has set aside £1.5bn to compensate policyholders at the society after the parliamentary ombudsman identified ten instances of maladministration by regulators and Whitehall officials in relation to Equitable in the period leading up to December 2001.
It is estimated that policyholders at Equitable Life have lost £4.3bn compared with if they had held their money with another institution.