Angry British pensioners have braved the London cold by stripping to their underpants – to put pressure on the government to answer their demands. The eyebrow-raising protest came as an official watchdog called on the Blair administration to compensate up to 85,000 people who have lost company pension fund benefits they believed were secure. “The government told us our pensions were safe,” said demonstrator Barry Duddy.“They told us to trust in pensions and to invest in them and I believe the government should compensate us.”
The report said governments and other public bodies had failed to inform citizens clearly in leaflets about how secure their funds were. Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham said: “I have identified this as maladministration – that the government was at fault here.“It produced official information. It decided to do so. It did not have to do that. It provided official information which was inaccurate, it was incomplete, it was inconsistent and it was unclear.” Her report is non-binding, however, and the British prime minister has rejected the compensation demand, which could run into several billion euros.