Update from the Secretary of State

I received a letter today from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr Owen Paterson, updating us on the current situation with regards to the Presbyterian Mutual Society. This is what he wrote:

At our recent meeting to discuss PMS, I indicated that I would be in touch to update you as the situation moved forward.

I chaired a meeting of the Ministerial Working Group yesterday – the Minister of State for Northern Ireland Hugo Swire, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban, the First and deputy First Minister and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment also participated.

As you are aware, the legal and commercial sensitivities surrounding PMS limit what I can say publicly at this stage. However, in broad terms, I wanted to emphasise again the commitment that the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive share to finding a just and fair resolution to the PMS crisis. The commitment was very much in evidence during the course of the Ministerial meeting on 8 September; the intensive work being carried out by officials from Whitehall and Stormont was reflected in the constructive proposals being worked through by my colleagues on the Ministerial Working Group.

We are considering several options with the aim of finding the best available solution for the thousands of PMS members who have been unable to access their investments since the Society entered administration in 2008 – and in so doing, we have been mindful of the many representations made to us by individuals, families, Church congregations, elected representatives and other public figures seeking that a satisfactory solution be found.

Complex issues still need to be resolved, but the will exists to identify a way forward in the context of the Spending Review this October. The Ministerial Group will meet again in two weeks to review progress. I hope this note offers some reassurance that progress is being made and that we expect to be able to provide more detail in coming weeks as to the way forward.

We thank Mr Paterson for his update and assure him and his colleagues of our prayerful support as they seek to resolve these “complex issues”. As we wait, we encourage one another, as Jesus did his disciples, to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1-8).

12 Replies to “Update from the Secretary of State”

  1. Thank you for this update Dr Carson. It is very satisfactory to know that there is much work and dedication being applied by everyone involved.

    “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians ch 5 v16-18

  2. Dr Carson, Keep up your good work on behalf of all PMS investors and especially those with less than £20,000

  3. Good – we now seem to have ministers in the NIO and Treasury, who act as well as talk – thanks to them, the lobby group and Dr Carson for keeping trying. A pity so much time wasted before by the previous government when nothing much happened other than lots of talking!

  4. Thank you Stafford for your positive and encouraging approach to this vexed issue over many months, and for the way in which you have put yourself in the way of criticism for the sake of the the many PMS savers involved. Keep up the good work.

  5. Thank you Mr Carson and all working on our behalf.We may still have to wait for some time yet but it is good to see many people pulling together and not letting this issue just disappear into the darkness.

  6. I would just like to thank Mr Carson and all involved in their persistant efforts in getting to a fair and just resolution to the problem of all affected by this Society going into administration.
    Worry about nothing – pray about everything. Our God is in control and we trust Him for His good and perfect answers.

  7. Thank you for your continued work in this area -much appreciated by all savers especially the savers with £20k and less. This week the Irish government came up with a proposition with Anglo Irish Bank -could this be used as a template for PMS -funding institution where deposits are protected and an institution looking after the bad debt.

  8. Like the others Stafford, I continue to wish you well and congratulate your tenacity. Dealing with governments and politicians is never easy and all commitments and assurances must be taken gratefully but be treated cautiously.

    It will soon be two years since the collapse of the society and we are still only hearing reassurances. The NI Executive proposal seems now to have disappeared, even though the Special Assembly approved it. But those proposals seemed to appear just before the last election, so I would caution continued vigilance.

    The church needs to be careful and sup with these politicians with a long spoon. Never forget, frequently timing is everything and an Assembly election is due next May, the cynic in me might think a solution could be found, just like the last Executive proposal, just in time for the assembly or even local Government elections, giving certain politicians or parties an electoral boost! Caution.

  9. Stafford Carson has certainly taken ownership of the PMS crisis. He has no legal responsiblity for the PMS crisis and does not hid behind this fact. He is showing real leadership and for this I am very thankful.

    Would it be possible for Stafford to publish on this site where and when he plans to speak at public meetings on this issue?

  10. Stafford Carson and his Team deserve to be applauded in their tireless efforts to find a fair and just solution for all PMS savers.

    Thank you so much for your dedication, encouragement and leadership. Keep up the excellent work.

  11. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work so far to resvolve this situation that is from the Government, Mr Patterson and DR S Carson.
    Thank you

  12. Prayer is the answer to all our problems,no matter how big or small they are,we are told to pray without ceasing.1 Peter chapter 3 verse 12 For the eyes of the LORD are over the righteous,and his ears are open unto their prayers.

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