Remember those poor pensioners who lost their pensions after relying on dodgy advice in a Government leaflet?
Even though the Parliamentary Ombudsman had ruled that the advice contained in the leaflet was “inaccurate, incomplete, unclear and inconsistent”, the Government looked the other way and refused to compensate them.
Good news for them. The High Court has today held that the Government was wrong to reject the Ombudsman’s report. This means that the Government will now have to revisit the Ombudsman’s report and consider how to resolve the situation. This will most likely lead to some form of compensation for the pensioners.
The Government had previously refused to countenance compensation, instead uttering some laughable, sanctimonious drivel about its fiscal responsibilities. This from a Government that has ‘excelled’ in inefficiency, waste, confused tax policies, and all-round economic incompetence.
Far too many people have suffered the consequences of this Government’s ham-fisted and incompetent approach to finance; pensioners, tax credits claimants, Railtrack shareholders, small businesses, investors, the ordinary taxpayer, all have suffered. Tax credits are overpaid, and then reclaimed all at once, causing hardship to claimants. Misleading advice is given to investors, who suffer loss after relying on the advice. Tax laws are made, and then just as quickly changed, causing uncertainty, and in many cases, loss to people who have laid out money in reliance on the law. Sometimes, changes are made with harmful and far-reaching retrospective effects, so that people are then forced to go back and undo financial arrangements they made many years ago, even before this Government came into office.
What a risky and precarious climate in which we now do business and invest, and it has been created by Labour. In most cases, the Government has simply shrugged its shoulders and let the losses lie where they fell. That should not happen this time. Even though it will have to dip into public funds to do so, the Government must compensate these pensioners. It is surely the right thing to do.