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Business Comment

David Prosser: Keep up the good work on Equitable redress

Outlook So far, so good for victims of the Equitable Life scandal. The Government has kept its word, with the Queen's Speech yesterday promising a Bill to give the Treasury powers to pay compensation to those who lost money when the insurer almost collapsed a decade ago. That is going much further than the previous administration – even after a string of legal rulings against it and a damning report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman – which never managed to offer anything more than the most cursory of compensation schemes.

Still, the devil will be in the detail of the proposals. Equitable Life itself estimates that compensating the victims of this failure of regulation could cost as much as £5bn if rightful redress is to be paid to everyone affected. That's quite a commitment for a government so concerned about getting the public finances under control.

Any backsliding on compensation, however, would be all the more disappointing given the hope offered to Equitable victims after their long fight for justice.