Having only had time to skim read Mr Justice Peter Smith’s statement, we will make the following comments.
Regarding Mr Peter Johnson to be the only person to criticise the Farepak model due to the fact that Park Group Plc ringfence customers’ monies, Park were put in the position of ringfencing customers’ monies due to the collapse of Farepak. We obviously agree with customers’s monies being ringfenced and the Christmas Pre-payment Association has now traded successfully for almost 6 years.
Regarding what the Directors of EHR/Farepak should have done earlier is basically given the creditors the truth. The directors advised us of the collapse of Choice but informed us that a new agreement with Grass Roots had been made for Bonusbond vouchers. Yes, a new agreement had been reached but said agreement required payment up front. The directors of Farepak must have known they would not have had enough money to pay for the vouchers up front.
Farepak customers were never given a choice over what to do. We were not told of cashflow problems, we were not told that when Choice collapsed, Farepak would have to pay up front for vouchers and the significance of this fact. We were not told that EHR’s shares were suspended on 23 August 2006. If we had been told these very important points, how many of us would have wished our money back? We suspect practically every single saver and Farepak would have known that also and known that they would never be able to repay us due to the fact HBOS had our money as it was swept up daily from the Farepak account into the EHR account and then directly to HBOS.
Unfairpak still believe to this day that the directors do have questions which require to be answered and we will now not get those answers. We note Mr Justice Peter Smith has stated that the evidence will be made available for any interested party wishing to read same. We can confirm that Unfairpak will request said evidence and it does not matter how long it takes us to read same, we will do it and we shall report on it.
Now to matters relating to HBOS. HBOS is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group. Accordingly, Unfairpak will now be launching a new campaign and that is to have the money that HBOS took from us, returned.
We note that they are refusing to return any money stating they paid 2 million into the Farepak Response Fund. This is not good enough! Unfairpak demonstrated, quite correctly, at HBOS in 2006 whilst they sipped champagne inside the HQ in Edinburgh. We were presented with a letter criticising our campaign and criticising our National Campaign Co-ordinator, Suzy Hall. This letter can be seen on our forum and also on You Tube you can see Suzy reading out the letter to demonstrators.
Colin Fox, then an MSP was a fantastic ambassador to the cause and came up with the slogan for HBOS of “Hand Back Our Savings”. That is what we are demanding now. We want our savings back. We are, at the present time, ascertaining how much money was swept up to HBOS following suspension of EHR’s shares on 23 August 2006. Once we have said figure, we shall be demanding same back from Lloyds.
We will fight hard, just as we did in 2006, to get justice for Farepak creditors. We will not give up this fight until Lloyds repay monies owed morally to Farepak creditors. HBOS lied and made a mockery of our campaign. Again, Mr Peter Johnson of Park Group Plc was ‘on the ball’ so far as HBOS was concerned. He wrote to the Chairman (who we believe to be Andy Hornby) expressing his extreme concern that the rescue package Park II was still sitting with HBOS. In total it sat with HBOS for 6 weeks. At first HBOS stated that Park II could be a “neat solution……” yet on 10 October 2006 they rejected said rescue plan and as we all know the entire Group fell into administration.
Unfairpak also wish every single member of ‘higher management’ of HBOS in 2006, investigated by the Treasury Select Committee and made to answer questions on why they rejected every single proposal made to them especially Park II which while they sat on same, millions of pounds were pouring into HBOS’s bank account from the EHR sweep.
We will leave this post as it is just now as we are still awaiting more facts to push our campaign ahead. Unfairpak won an award for Campaign of the Year in 2007 from the Scottish Herald Politician Awards. We take that award seriously. We were honoured to have received same and we shall not continue the work that began in 2006 until we reach a satisfactory conclusion.