Socialist Worker

‘Why are the bankers bailed out when we are left with nothing?’

ask the victims of Farepak’s collapse

Issue No. 2131

Protest over Farepak outside HBOS champagne reception in 2006  (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Protest over Farepak outside HBOS champagne reception in 2006 (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Christmas was ruined for thousands of families two years ago when the Farepak savings scheme collapsed. The HBOS bank pulled the plug on the scheme’s parent company – and 120,000 people lost a total of £38 million in savings.

Today HBOS has been brought down by the credit crunch and is due to be sold to Lloyds TSB. It is one of the banks that has taken up the government’s offer of emergency funds.

Socialist Worker highlighted a group of Motherwell dinner ladies on its front page two years ago. They had all fallen victim to Farepak. We went back to Margaret Hendry to find out what they feel about the bankers’ bailout

‘Thank you for remembering us. I don’t think there can be anyone who was a Farepak victim who does not feel just a little angry at this time of year that we never recovered our losses.

Personally I think we were very badly let down. If the government had dipped into the public purse to help out people

who needed it badly, perhaps the general public would see them in a more favourable light today.

While I understand they think that by bailing out banks in trouble they are making a great difference, can the government not see that the banks are in this state because of bad investments and huge borrowing debts?

The difference with the Farepak victims was that we were left in a great big hole. We tried to be sensible and plan for Christmas in a way that meant we paid for it in advance.

But when our money vanished, we weren’t offered a pittance from the purseload of pennies.

Where’s the sense of equality here? It would appear that if you are an ordinary person and you hit hardship, then you are on your own.

But if you’re a banker who has made a mess of the finances, you can still get a huge salary, perks and bonuses – and the government will bail you out of the mess.

I have never had any compensation from Farepak. If it has been paid out, then they’ve missed me.

We were told we will eventually get about 5p in the pound – which would give me the vast sum of £26. If I should ever get it, I’ll try not to let it change my lifestyle.’

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Tue 9 Dec 2008, 18:04 GMT
Issue No. 2131
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