Northern Rock shareholders step up their fight

NORTHERN Rock shareholders have upped their fight to get compensation with a series of petitions to be handed in to Parliament.

NORTHERN Rock shareholders have upped their fight to get compensation with a series of petitions to be handed in to Parliament.

Three North Labour MPs have agreed to hand the petitions in, on behalf of shareholders who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds when the bank was nationalised and their shares were confiscated.

Fraser Kemp, MP for Houghton and Washington East, handed one in last week and Ronnie Campbell for Blyth Valley and Roberta Blackman-Woods, Durham City, have agreed to do the same when Parliament returns after the Christmas break.

Ex-Rock employee Dennis Grainger, leader of the Northern Rock North East Action Group, said: “We are trying to get every MP in the region to do their duty and hand a petition in for their constituents. We are very grateful to Fraser Kemp, Roberta and Ronnie for supporting this so far.”

The petition asks the Government to reconsider the terms of reference given to the valuer so they can fully reflect the true value of the shares. The issue to set to go before the High Court on January 13 next year.

Mr Grainger, 62, of Cramlington, Northumberland, lost around £114,000 in shares, which he had been saving for his retirement when they were confiscated by the Government as it took over the bank.

“But that is not why I am doing this,” he said.

“I went out on to the streets and I spoke to around 2,000 people, a lot of them elderly who were in a similar position, they had been banking on these shares for their retirement or as a nest egg to pass on to children or grandchildren.

“We know we won’t get all our money back but we think we should be compensated fairly. The Government used a formula which said our shares were worthless. The terms of reference were rigged.

“The Government cannot be allowed to simply confiscate people’s property and then effectively force down the compensation to nil whilst benefiting, or likely to benefit, from that outcome themselves when disposing of the assets of what was a leading, entirely solvent and profitable North East company.

“There is still time for the Government to climb down from their entrenched position, stop wasting taxpayers’ money to defend a bad law, and settle this matter out of court – simply by letting the Valuer get on with his normal job without restriction. Let the Government, even at this late stage, show some good sense, humility and above all fairness and settle this matter before we get to court.

“Now that local Labour MPs are getting behind the various petitions that surely should be all the evidence the Government need to act now and settle, saving many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of pounds, of taxpayers’ money.”

MP Ronnie Campbell said: “I have agreed to hand this petition in because it is my duty to do so.

“But I’m not sure what good it will do.

“When the case comes to court I just hope that everyone gets what they want.”


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