TTF calls for govt leadership on pension scams following meeting with PM

The Transparency Task Force (TTF) has published an open letter to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, calling for greater leadership from the government on pension scam problems.

The open letter, written by TTF founder, Andy Agathangelou, followed a meeting with the Prime Minister on 25 September, and described pension scams as "a major public interest issue”.

Whilst it praised the leadership already shown by APPG Pension Scams chair, Bob Blackman, Work and Pensions Select Committee chair, Stephen Timms, and Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman; the TTF also called for similar support from Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

In particular, the group has urged Sunak to support the proposal drafted by TTF advisory group member and Pension Scams Industry Group chair, Margaret Snowdon, for a tax amnesty for pension scam victims who are able to show they are a victim of crime.

The proposal for the amendment to the Finance Act 2004 has been shared with the Treasury and HMRC, and, according to Agathangelou, would allow HMRC to treat scam victims “more fairly” and in a manner that is in keeping with its charter.

The letter has also called for leadership from the Johnson himself through “visible and ongoing interest” in the pension scams problem.

Indeed, Agathangelou emphasised that the Prime Minister's support would be “key” in preventing pension scams from growing into a “national scandal of truly epic, pandemic-like proportions”.

The letter stressed the scale of the problem, noting that, according to public record, around 40,000 people become pension scam victims in the last year, losing an average of £82,000 each.

It stated: “The harsh reality is that the pension scams problem is a festering sore on the face of the pensions sector, with daily press coverage corroding the public’s confidence in making adequate provision for self-sufficiency in retirement.

“In short, much more needs to be done, and can be done, to get the problem under control.”

Agathangelou stressed that victims of scams are “normally depressed, and sometimes even feeling suicidal”, stating that becoming a pension scam victim can lead to life-changing consequences that could be “as shocking as a road accident”, despite being avoidable.

He added: "Perhaps now more than ever, the world is looking to the UK as a beacon of fairness, justice and integrity.

"As a global leader in financial services, the UK has a real opportunity to show that it takes all kinds of financial crime seriously, and that it is a safe, fair and transparent place to do business."

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