Julian Knight: My mum's PPI mis-selling payout leaves me jealous

Her compensation beats what she could have earned from the stock market or an ISA

I wish I had taken out payment- protection insurance (PPI). Yes, you read that right. I wish I had taken out payment-protection insurance. I almost did, in fact. In 2001 I took out a loan to buy a car with Alliance & Leicester – now part of Santander – and throughout the process the salespeople kept adding a PPI policy onto my monthly repayment figure. I phoned Alliance & Leicester three times and instructed them to take off the ppi as I had no need for it. This was a clear attempt at mis-selling and I was wise to it but wish I hadn't been. My regrets don't stem from the fact that I would have needed to claim, but from the fact that if I had allowed myself to be mis-sold, I would now be awaiting a hefty compensation cheque, just like the one winging its way to my mother.

She was mis-sold PPI by both the Halifax and the Co-op and in the first case – despite intrusive questioning – she has now received her compensation, which seems to be the premiums, plus interest paid on the premiums, topped up to the tune of 8 per cent per year. Because she chose to pursue the claim herself rather than through a claims-management firm, she will keep the lot and I have worked out that she has done better out of being mis-sold PPI than she could have done if she had invested the cash in the stock market or placed it into even the best-paying individual savings account. She deserves this of course and the banks are rightly being punished for it. Yet I can't help but feel a little jealous.

Pension liberation

Recently The Independent on Sunday investigated the sharks in the pension-liberation industry. Basically, these fly-by-night firms look to persuade people to deposit their pension with them in a high-risk, offshore-investment scheme with the dubious promise of being able to unlock some cash. Up to 90 per cent of the fund can disappear in charges and investment underperformance and on the whole they are a terrible and legally very dubious idea. Now, it seems, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) agrees, and following reports such as ours has announced a raft of measures to put an end to this consumer abuse. The Association of British Insurers is cock-a-hoop that HMRC is getting tough, so let's hope we now have some real, joined-up action between the taxman, the pensions funds and the wider public to put these schemes out to grass.

Sorry Stephanie

Last year, when Stephanie Flanders, the departing BBC economics editor, wrote that older workers were "bed-blocking" younger people I got angry. The main reason was that for years I had been urging employers to take a much-better attitude to older workers and to dispense with ageism in the workplace in order to sort out the pensions crisis (it is funny how I got more obsessed with it as my 40th birthday approached). Then we had the widely respected Ms Flanders saying that young people were being thwarted by the nation's older workers. I said this was counterproductive.

Now this week I have been reading a report on the European Labour Market for an organisation called the Conference Board, which clearly shows that Ms Flanders was right. Since the onset of the financial crisis the numbers of people still in the workforce across the EU has risen by nearly 4 million. This is simply because Europeans are staying at work longer rather than opting for early retirement. At the same time, youth unemployment is horrendous throughout much of the EU.

It seems Ms Flanders was correct, but overall we do still need people to stay at work longer and employers to be more open to older workers – genuine labour market flexibility up to the age of 70 if necessary.

In some ways the phrase bed-blocking misses the real point that the difficulties we face are actually getting to integrate young people into the workforce, particularly straight from university which in some cases doesn't equip youngsters well, while at the same time recognising that we need older people to be truly flexible. We still have a very long way to go on both counts.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

    Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

    Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

    Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

    £32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

    Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

    £Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas