Simon Read: Treasury is punishing equitable policyholders again

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The Independent Online

The lamentable treatment of Equitable policyholders took another turn for the worse this week. The life company effectively closed in 2001 and policyholders have spent the past 12 years trying to recover some of their cash.

The coalition offered some hope of settlement when it came to power in 2010 but this week the National Audit Office described the Treasury as "disgraceful" for the way it has mishandled the scheme to make payments to former policyholders.

Shockingly the NAO report also shows that with just a year of the government scheme to go, there are still 664,000 payments to be made. Even worse, it's expected that a fifth of policyholders will never be found, and so will never get their money back.

Many payouts will even be received too late, reckons Paul Weir of the Equitable Members' Action Group. "I dread to think how many people have died waiting," he told me. "It's going to be 40,000-50,000 by the time the scheme closes."

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