Kent On Sunday
Via email Sunday 24th June 2007
The protestations of innocence from the Labour MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Derek Wyatt, in which he claimed that he voted against the cross party proposal to set up a "lifeboat fund" because he "questioned the legitimacy of seizing unclaimed assets" and because any such fund "could create a huge financial burden for the taxpayer" raises a number of interesting questions.
1) Why did Mr Wyatt sign the Early Day Motion in Parliament which supported setting up the lifeboat fund and using those very same unclaimed assets?
2) Why did Mr Wyatt in March this year present a bill to Parliament (with Labour colleague Frank Field) to, and I quote, "establish an Unclaimed Assets Agency; to confer powers on the Agency to obtain information from banks and building societies relating to unclaimed assets; to make provision for the transfer of a proportion of unclaimed assets to the Agency for distribution among certain members of occupational pension schemes; and for connected purposes"
3) If Mr Wyatt is so concerned about the poor old taxpayer then why recently did he vote himself an additional £10,000, each and every year, as a "communication allowance"? This decision is going to cost the taxpayer over £6 million a year, without any hope of a refund from unclaimed assets!
I really do hope that even at this late stage Mr Wyatt will change his mind and back the amendments to the Pensions Bill when it returns to the Commons in a few weeks time. If the amendments are passed it will ensure that the ASW pensioners, and many other people, get the justice they richly deserve.
Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman
Sittingbourne & Sheppey