Sunderland pensioner urges Theresa May to look again at compensation for thousands of Northern Rock shareholders

Investors queue outside a branch of Northern Rock to withdraw their savings
Investors queue outside a branch of Northern Rock to withdraw their savings

Campaigners will today urge Prime Minister Theresa May to look again at the case for increased compensation for former Northern Rock shareholders.

Thousands of small shareholders – many of them pensioners and long-term savers – saw the value of their stake in the bank wiped out when it was nationalised ten years ago.

Dennis Grainger

Dennis Grainger

The UK Shareholders' Association (UKSA) has challenged the terms of the scheme set up by the Government to put a value on compensation for those whose shares were seized when the bank was taken into public ownership.

Campaigners say the Government at the time effectively 'rigged' the scheme by declaring that the bank was broke when it was nationalised, rendering shares worthless and reducing the compensation due, and that they have been treated differently from shareholders in other banks which were bailed out by the Government, such as RBS.

They have also argued that it was the Government's failure to act quickly enough to guarantee savings that sparked the ‘run’ on Northern Rock which saw savers withdraw millions of pounds and led to the bank's collapse.

The Northern Rock Small Shareholder Action Group, part of the the UKSA, will today hand in a letter to Number Ten, asking the Prime Minister to review its latest report into the affair.

Sunderland's former Northern Rock branch in Fawcett Street

Sunderland's former Northern Rock branch in Fawcett Street

Sunderland-born chairman Dennis Grainger and five other pensioner shareholders - including 87-year-old Bill Penman Brown, a banking expert from Edinburgh - will hand in the letter this afternoon.

It will call on the Prime Minister to review the group's latest report, which has taken three years to compile, and which it says proves the original handling of the Northern Rock collapse shows 'discriminatory treatment, injustice and unfairness toward the shareholders who were ‘wiped out’ unjustly.

"The shareholders are asking only that the Prime Minister gives them the courtesy of simply reading and considering summary documents and discussing the matter; ultimately to perhaps consider the full 50 page report and reach her own conclusions," said Dennis.

He believes the Labour Government at the time of the crisis always intended to prepare the solvent company for sale at a profit to the taxpayers.

"Three times I tried to get a meeting with David Cameron to ask him to review the unfair handling by the previous disingenuous administration.

"Now may be an appropriate time for the Prime Minister to apply the ‘fairness’ in which she clearly believes."