PMS update

photoI spent yesterday at Westminster, London, attending a debate on the crisis surrounding the Presbyterian Mutual Society. It was held in Westminster Hall within the Palace of Westminster, and was chaired by Sir Nicholas Winterton.

The debate was the result of a request made by the DUP’s Chief Whip, Reverend William McCrea MP, and he opened the debate with an excellent speech outlining the current situation with regard to the PMS, and highlighting a number of key issues.

A number of Northern Ireland Members were able to make important points to Dr Ian Pearson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, who was there to wind up the debate and to respond to the points that had been made. There were significant contributions from Mark Durkan, The First Minister, Peter Robinson, David Simpson, and Lady Sylvia Hermon. The Hansard record of the whole debate can be read here.

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I believe that this was a significant debate which maintains the pressure on the decision-makers to come up with an agreeable solution to this long-running problem. The PMS situation also created some lively interchanges with NI Minister of State, Paul Goggins, during Northern Ireland Questions which can be read here. Again, the NI Members used the opportunity to make important points and to seek assurances from the Government. All in all, it was a very useful day of discussion when almost every speaker accepted that this crisis needed to be resolved quickly. I believe that minds are now focused on getting a solution, and that encourages me.

A visit to Westminster also gives the opportunity to chat about other issues, and I appreciate very much the work of the ever-efficient Margaret, who has been such a good friend and who has opened so many doors for us during this crisis. Without her help, many significant conversations would not have taken place. We trust and pray that all these efforts may soon yield fruit, and that this distressing situation may yet be resolved.

8 Replies to “PMS update”

  1. PMS savers need more than just words before an election -we need action from Westminister and Stormont.

    Words from our politicians six weeks before an election won’t pay the tax bills, the nursing home fees, the university fees, family weddings or congregations wishing to build new halls/churches across this Island.

    We also need to continue our to put our trust in God not man over these lessons.

  2. Like ATA I would be very cynical about the timing of all this flurry of activity, the working proup set up by the Prime Minister was supposed to report in September last year we are still waiting. At the time I suggested it was a delaying tactic – kicking to the long grass and I’m still of that opinion.

    When the other banks/building societies collapsed the Government was able within days to rescue them with our money, the PMS savers/investors have been waiting 17 months and still nothing.

    personally I would suggest beware of politicians bearing gifts especially in the run up to an election!

  3. i thought the ‘savers’ in the PMS were technically ‘investors’ and that was the main difference in them and regular savers in the banks – i had never heard of the PMS untill it collapsed!

  4. as the PMS resurfaces in the press with a “secret rescue” plan from the First and Deputy First Ministers the old adage “beware the ides of March” may be appropriate.

    Equally beware of politicians bearing gifts – just before an election!

    Overall the reserved welcome both by the Moderator and the Newsletter journalist Sam McBride appears to be the appropriate cautious approach.

    Call me a cynic but the timimg of this announcement, with the need for the Treasury to agree, especaily when compared to the political/parliamentary timetable in relation to the general election, could mean this proposal remains that, just a proposal throughout the elction.

    I repeat beware!

  5. I know that all M.Ps have people like me in their minds regarding the PMS situation. However thoughts will not solve this problem. I was prudent and saved for old age together with funds to help my grandchildren through University. I would have been better to squander my money ,instead of save it. It was me that was the fool.After all it saved the country money as I was not claiming from the state.I have never claimed sickness benefit or dole.The government bailed out the Icelandic Bank since a lot of labour councils had money in them.WE are not in a labour part of the country so we do not matter.

  6. One of our most vocal friends was Mark Durkan. He cared even though nothing was in it for him.

  7. I have just heard about the Special Assembly to discuss a financial contribution from Church Members to bail out investors in PMS. I’m not sure how this proposal is going to be dressed up but it sounds like it is going to be some sort of investment in the PMS. How wise is it to invest in a failed institution which appears to be insolvent? People should carefully consider their position before agreeing to such a proposal. In Congregations the committee members are trustees of the congregations’ finances and as such have a statutory duty of care. I do not believe that a committee acting in accordance with that duty could invest in PMS.

    There are plenty of us who have lost money in this recession who won’t be getting and aren’t expecting a bail out. There are 360,500 Presbyterians who had no say in the running of the Mutual society and 9,500 who did. It is quite unfair to ask those who had no say including very many people who aren’t fortunate enough to have spare money (including widows and single parents) to invest to come up with money for those who do. I do not see why the 360,500 should bear any responsibility for the situation that has arisen. I know it is not a popular thing to say but the investors must bear some responsibility themselves. This was a mutual society – it did exactly what it said on the tin. It wasn’t a bank. The investors appointed the directors, they received annual reports, they were invited to the AGM’s. Their fellow Presbyterians weren’t. If the members want some redress for whatever loss they might suffer (has this been quantified?) they should look to those to blame for this mess and not their fellow Presbyterians or fellow taxpayers.

    Will anyone who has a pecuniary interest in the votes be permitted to take part?

  8. ‘purdah’ will commence in the morning after the election date is announced .. so no-one can expect governmental decisions on PMS until after the election .. leaving one to wonder what the special assembly will be able to discuss!

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