It would have cost roughly £3 to £5 million for HBOS to ‘save’ Farepak but HBOS wanted their money back and they got it, leaving 116,439 customers with claims totalling £37 million out of pocket and facing a miserable Christmas in 2006.
Unfairpak held a demonstration outside HBOS’s HQ in Edinburgh on 11 December 2006 with a large media presence. We had our fantastic laminated ‘UNFAIRPAK’, banner and Colin Fox, former MSP, came up with the wonderful slogan ‘Hand Back Our Savings’!
We also had a petition with thousands of signatures and many emails from MSP’s stating that they would not be attending the Champagne Reception that HBOS were holding on that very cold December night.
Unfairpak knew then that HBOS had our savings and we wanted them back. The bank, on the other hand, decided, very kindly, to give us Shane O’Riordain with an ‘open’ letter to Unfairpak which our National Campaign Co-ordinator read to the demonstrators.
Shane very quickly became known and called as ‘Shame on Shane’ and it was truly ‘shame on Shane’ as he was the one sent out to spin HBOS’s poor, pathetic attempt at discrediting Unfairpak and in fact Suzy herself. HBOS were “very disappointed” that Suzy stated that the £2 million donation, being the single largest donation, to the Farepak Response Fund (if we heard that once, we heard it one hundred times from Shame on Shane) “disgusted her”. HBOS went onto state that they “broke the golden rule of banking” as banks hardly ever made a charitable donation to companies that had collapsed and they had provided finance to same. However, that is exactly what it was, a charitable, guilty donation and now Lloyds wish to ‘top it up’ by £8 million to the £10 million suggested in court by Mr Justice Peter Smith.
Lloyds are now ‘responsible’ for HBOS’s greed due to the fact that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group. However, don’t feel sorry for Lloyds, as they were later, along with other banks, to be bailed out by the taxpayer and owes said taxpayer around £20 billion – YES £20 BILLION!
Unfairpak firmly believe that Lloyds should actually be paying £10,251,000. We reach this figure as this is the amount that was swept up from Farepak to HBOS from suspension of EHR’s shares on 23 August 2006 until the Group’s collapse. If you look at Woolworths as a comparison, when they suspended their shares they put the firm into administration, EHR, on the other hand, continued to trade. This is the date that Unfairpak feel we can say categorically that EHR should have been put into administration but was not.
Now some people will read this and think “£10,251,000, are you crazy……”? What we have to remember is that HBOS did NOT act illegally. They did however act wholly immorally especially with the Park II rescue plan, which, as Unfairpak stated at the beginning of this post, would have cost HBOS £3 to £5 million to ‘save’ Farepak. HBOS ‘sat on’ Park II for 6 weeks, initially calling it a “neat solution…..” only later to pull the plug completely on the Group.
Suzy Hall along with Yvonne Fovargue and Ian McCartney are meeting with Mr Vince Cable on Thursday 12 July 2012 to discuss “the case”. Mr Cable has stated today that “My department and Lloyds will work to make sure this money gets to the victims as quickly as possible.” There are several ways this can be done, the simplest being through BDO. Now some people are going to get a little tetchy that Unfairpak should even dare mention BDO and money in the same sentence. What people have to realise is that they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of an administration/liquidation and Unfairpak appreciate that must be extremely frustrating. However, BDO are the best equipped to deal with distributing the funds. BDO actually waived their fee in respect of dealing with the Farepak Response Fund. Unfairpak are NOT suggesting that BDO would waive a fee dealing with Lloyds but we are pointing out that they have done so before.
To bring this blog to a close, Unfairpak would urge Lloyds to up their offer to £10,251,000 and lastly, we expect and shall demand that ALL senior management of HBOS from 2006 involved with Farepak are brought before the Treasury Select Committee to answer questions on their actions. They have called our savings “Doris” that comment may prove to be “Deadly” especially when they are fighting a group that completely deserved Scottish Herald Politician Campaign of the Year Award in 2007.