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Equitable Life has paid out £800m

More than £800 million-worth of compensation payouts have now been made to more than 700,000 victims of the Equitable Life scandal, the Government has announced.

Some £82m-worth of payments were made in the second half of 2013, meaning that a total of 717,600 policyholders who suffered financial losses have received payments worth £816m since the compensation scheme launched two-and-a-half years ago.

The overall total so far includes £15m paid out to the estates of 2425 people who had died before their compensation payment was made.

The latest tally means that more than two-thirds of people who are eligible have now received payments. About one million people are due to receive payouts in total, but the scheme has run into significant problems trying to trace them all.

Sajid Javid, financial secretary to the Treasury, said the latest figures showed "we are making strong progress to help those who suffered an injustice".

A pot of £1.5 billion has been put aside to compensate policyholders, and payments started in June 2011. Victims' campaigners have previously criticised an "arbitrary" cut-off point of the scheme of April 2014, a date later extended by the Government to mid-2015.

Last April, the National Audit Office raised fears that around 200,000 people, or up to one-fifth of eligible policyholders, would never be tracked down. In autumn last year, an advertising campaign was launched to find the lost victims of the scandal. The Treasury said it received around 20,000 phone calls as a result.

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