Farepak victims in call for same deal as Northern Rock

FAREPAK victims have hit out at the absence of compensation pay-outs on the first anniversary of the Christmas hamper firm's collapse.

It came as the creditors' committee warned that no cash payments were likely to be made before this Christmas.

Farepak allowed people to save for festive hampers and vouchers, but it left an estimated 150,000 savers 40 million out of pocket when the company went into administration.

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Louise McDaid, who chairs the Farepak Victims Committee and who lost about 400, said: "We've not had a single penny from the administrators, which we find very distressing.

"At no point have we even been contacted to let us know what's been happening. When you look at Northern Rock, within days of that the government made an announcement that they would be guaranteeing people's money.

"A year down the line and we've not had anything like that," she added.

"There's still a feeling of total anger. The reason this happened was because there was no regulation, and the Farepak Victims Committee believes that the government has a responsibility in this."

Ms McDaid, of West Kilbride, Ayrshire, has now put her cash into a local credit union.

Suzy Hall, who is the campaign co-ordinator with the customers' group Unfairpak and sits on the creditors' committee which has been set up, said that many victims were now resigned to the fact they could expect only limited compensation. This is likely to be about five pence in the pound on the money lost.

But Ms Hall said : "What people really want to know is what happened to the money."

the Labour MP for Livingston in West Lothian, Jim Devine, who has been campaigning for victims to receive cash payments by Christmas, called this week for the minutes of a meeting which Halifax Bank of Scotland held with Farepak last February to be released.

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"I understand that this meeting was called to address the financial straits that Farepak were experiencing," Mr Devine said.

"It's outrageous that following the meeting the company went on taking money from thousands of hard-working families if they had an indication of the impending collapse."