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Nick and Owen on the PMS

October 8th, 2010

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, came to Northern Ireland yesterday, and had a number of things to say about the coalition government’s approach to Northern Ireland. You can read them here.

In the last paragraph he comments on the PMS crisis.

I should add that the new government is very mindful of the need to resolve the serious hardship faced by members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. The Ministerial working group has been restored under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of State. And we are working intensively to find a fair and just resolution. And we know we must find it very soon.

It’s the “fair and just” phrase again. In the context of the UK where “no British saver lost a penny” in the financial crisis, we can only understand “fair and just” to mean that no PMS saver will lose a penny.

Earlier this week the Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, spoke at the Conservative Party conference, and he made this precise point about other UK savers. This is what he said:

And I want to say something today to one group of people. Last year, referring to the banking crisis, Gordon Brown boasted that ‘not one British saver has lost a single penny’

In saying this he completely ignored those investors in the Presbyterian Mutual Society who saw their money disappear. During the election David Cameron and I pledged a just and fair resolution of this crisis.

We’ve been working hard on this with the Northern Ireland Executive.

And we will honor that pledge.

It’s encouraging to hear two members of the Cabinet making the same point. We await the actions.

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