I am contacted regularly by savers in the Presbyterian Mutual Society seeking an update on developments in this long-running saga. As I reported to the General Assembly, at the beginning of June, we had a very encouraging meeting with the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, and the Minister of State, Hugo Swire. They assured us that the PMS crisis would receive their full attention, and the commitments made by Mr Cameron prior to the general election would be honoured.
While the attention of the Treasury has been focused on the recent budget, we are hopeful that, now it has been delivered, some attention will be given by Treasury ministers and officials to the PMS situation. A recent letter from Nigel Tonks, a senior official in HMT, confirms that the PMS case is under consideration. It seems that ministers have received considerable correspondence on this issue, and while they cannot reply to every letter, Mr Tonks gave this assurance:
The Government is aware of the financial difficulty and distress caused to so many PMS members. The Government is committed to working with the NI Executive in an effort to find a just and fair solution to the crisis caused by PMS entry into administration. A range of options is being considered in line with this commitment.
Anxious savers are eager to receive some reassurance. These three sentences confirm that PMS savers have not been forgotten. We will continue to watch and wait in the hope that soon we will get a resolution.