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Pensions justice

The Daily Mail reports that pensioners who lost their life savings through Government incompetence won a landmark battle for compensation yesterday. "The unexpected ruling leaves Chancellor Gordon Brown’s Treasury facing a £3billion bill to compensate around 85,000 people whose final-salary pension schemes were wound up." They had been encouraged to invest in the pension schemes of businesses which later collapsed.

Brown's decision to abolish tax relief on pension fund dividends in 1997 came at a high cost – £100bn and rising. It apparently also sent some companies reeling into bankruptcy, and made shares less attractive, which depressed stock exchange values and further devastated pensions.

Whether the government will appeal the ruling remains a question. John Halford, of Bindman & Partners, solicitors for the pensioners, said: “The Government has been caught red-handed in an act of constitutional vandalism intended to deprive thousands of working people of justice.”