Simon Read: Government should give more time to Equitable victims

It seems inconceivable that the Treasury has been unable to track down more than 400,000 Equitable Life policyholders to hand them the compensation due to them after the collapse of the life company.

But the Treasury then outdid itself by announcing a deadline on compensation payouts of next April. That rightly prompted a storm of protest, especially after the Public Accounts Committee reported that the Government had destroyed contact details of 353,000 policyholders in 2011.

So there's been a glimmer of good news this week after the Treasury agreed to extend the deadline for another 12 months and run a national advertising campaign to help find victims.

That's a start. But the Government also needs to make a commitment that if any cash cannot be returned to victims for any reason it should be shared among other policyholders – not just returned to the Treasury coffers as is currently planned.

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