Church's PMS report submitted to working group

The Presbyterian Church has submitted a report to the Government's Presbyterian Mutual Society Work-ing Group, it has been confirmed.

A spokesman for the Church told the News Letter that its report made “strong recommendations” for the working group to “consider the acute plight in which those who put money into the Presbyterian Mutual Society find themselves”.

He added that the Church had called on Government to treat the PMS the same as other banking institutions it had bailed out during the credit crunch.

“The Church urged the Govern-ment to proceed as it has in the case of other financial institutions impacted by the global economic and financial collapse,” he said, “thereby, as far as the Presbyterian Mutual savers are concerned, making good on the Government’s claim that ‘throughout this whole crisis, everyone that has been saving in a UK institution has been protected whenever there has been a difficulty in that institution’.”

The Church said the submission was followed up by letters to the Secretary of State and other members of the working group and a meeting with the Minister of Enterprise with a follow up meeting arranged with the Minister of Finance.

A Church spokesman said there had been a number of meetings between Church representatives and the Secretary of State, First and Deputy First Minister, and the PMS Administrator earlier in the summer.

Last February the General Board of the Presbyterian Church appointed a small group of people to co-ordinate the Church’s response to the PMS crisis and since then the group met regularly and consulted with people who have experience in financial matters, he said.

It had been agreed to make a submission to the Prime Minister’s working group, which had been done on August 17, though its contents at this stage are confidential, he added.

The working group was set up by Gordon Brown in June to assess the future of the PMS.

In recent weeks First Minister Peter Robinson has told the Assembly that a date had been agreed at the beginning of October to take the PMS situation to ministerial level in response to a previous meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and others.

“We are looking at possible proposals, and I hope that when we come to the ministerial meeting at the beginning of October, we will have a proposal that we can all support,” he said.

He also told the Assembly in recent weeks he was encouraged by the fact the officials of the working group had met six times and that “progress has been made in exploring the possible options for government help”.

The DUP leader also confirmed that the report from the Presbyterian Church had been received and was being considered.