Letter: Save our Widows

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Nigel Cope queries the right of the John Lewis Partnership to override the wishes of its founding fathers by selling its business and dividing the proceeds among existing employees ("A battle that saps the spirit of John Lewis", 24 August).

As a Scottish Widows policyholder, I query the right of existing management to demutualise and sell the Scottish Widows business to Lloyds TSB bank, as currently proposed.

About a year ago Scottish Widows policyholders were told by the chief executive, Mike Ross, that "Scottish Widows firmly believes that its status as an independent and mutual company continues to be right for its policyholders". "Our traditions of mutuality" were to be maintained "now and into the next century".

Many people have taken out policies over the years relying on assurances such as these. Policyholders are now to be offered some form of financial compensation to induce them to support the proposed sale. Scottish Widows has forgotten that the whole purpose of life insurance is to build up a fund for the long-term future, not to receive cash handouts.

How can opposition to this misguided proposal be mobilised?

ANDREW STURGIS

Hersham, Surrey

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