Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been pressed to take an interest in the growing pension scams issue to stop it becoming a “national scandal”.
In an open letter to the PM, Andy Agathangelou, founder of the Transparency Task Force, said the Prime Minister’s support was key and that under “leadership through visible personal interest”, Parliament could stop pension scams reaching “pandemic-like proportions”.
The letter followed a meeting with the prime minister last week to discuss the scams issue.
It also urged other members of the government to show leadership and called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the proposal drafted by Margaret Snowdon, chairwoman of the Pension Scams Industry Group, for a tax amnesty for pension scam victims.
According to Mr Agathangelou, this would enable HMRC to treat pension scam victims more fairly and stop it from having to “profit from the proceeds of crime”.
In August the Financial Conduct Authority warned more than £30m had been lost to pension scams in the past three years alone, with individual losses ranging from less than £1,000 to as much as £500,000.
Mr Agathangelou warned Mr Johnson to not underestimate the scale of the problem or the ingenuity of scammers to adapt and come up with new ways to steal savers’ pensions.
The letter praised the leadership already shown by Bob Blackman, chairman of the newly formed All Party Parliamentary Group on Pensions Scams and chairman of the Work and Pensions committee Stephen Tims, who has just opened an inquiry on pension scams.
The WPC inquiry is expected to run until November.