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By ATWadmin On November 13th, 2006

795151-547091-thumbnail.jpgI fully agree with Jenny McCartney’s take in the Sunday Telegraph on the collapse of Farepack -the Christmas hamper savings plan, which has gone bust, offering no possibility of a refund for its 150,000 customers. 

The human cost of Farepak’s collapse can be sampled from the stories on a website set up by those affected, appropriately entitled unfairpak.co.uk. One woman, a single mother of three children, found out about the loss of her hamper three weeks after discovering her son was autistic. Another single, disabled mother of two children had lost savings of £480. In a society in which many people seem increasingly feckless about running up huge debts, the Farepak customers had demonstrated exemplary restraint by carefully squirrelling away their hard-earned cash in advance. The crushing of their plans has especial pathos because, in my experience, people with the least money often take the greatest personal pride in doing Christmas well.


But Jenny goes on to then adroitly compare the Farepack situation with the infinitely worse situation prevailing following on from the widespread collapse of Pension Schemes.. 

Much more serious than the collapse of Farepak is the collapse of a pension scheme: the former involves a year-long investment, the latter that of several decades. In 2004, after the public’s confidence in company pensions was knocked by a series of scandals – in which 85,000 people were left facing a penniless old age after their pension plans disintegrated – the Government set up the Financial Assistance Scheme to provide strictly limited help to the worst affected. In spring this year it emerged that the FAS had thus far handed out a measly total of £100,000 to 31 people, but spent a staggering £5.3 million on set-up and administration costs, thus costing 50 times as much to run as it had actually paid out. The FAS is, of course, funded by taxpayers’ money in the first place.


brown.jpgHer final point is the most apt of all…

In theory, Labour is on the side of low-income working families and pensioners. In practice, it is hammering them financially at every turn. This Government’s unerring instinct is towards the costly expansion of bureaucracy, coupled with ever more intrusive systems of taxation. To effect its collection and redistribution of money, it is fostering large, shambolic systems that work badly and guzzle frightening amounts of cash. It rather makes me wonder which is preferable: Farepak, for fleecing lower-income families and pensioners this Christmas, or the Government, for fleecing them all year round?

Like you have to ask! It’s also interesting to note that the man most responsible for undermining Pension Funds – Gordon Brown – is the same guy who feigns great concern for Farepack customers


  1. Gordon Brown is a very dangerous man. He is a true intellectual – completely unaware of how limited he is. This is the PM who will destroy the Union by making England absolutely sick of him.