29/04/2009

Treasury Boss Briefed On Mutual Society Funds

A high level meeting has taken place today to discuss developments relating to the winding-up of the Presbyterian Mutual Society, and the loss of funds by its many investors.

NI Finance Minister Nigel Dodds and Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster met with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Dodds said: "This is the latest in a number of representations that I have made to the Chief Secretary on this issue.

"Today I impressed upon Ms Cooper the need to ensure early resolution of this situation and to bring comfort to members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society," he said.

The Chancellor announced in his November 2008 Pre-Budget Report that he was establishing a review of the legislative framework for Credit Unions and Industrial and Provident Societies in Northern Ireland.

"My officials have been working closely with colleagues in the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment and HM Treasury on this issue.

"There is a pressing need to bring greater clarity to the regulatory regime that applies in Northern Ireland.

"We need to ensure that all possible measures are in place to create confidence for members when making important financial decisions," he insisted.

Also commenting, Arlene Foster said: "The Northern Ireland Executive has taken all the action it can. It has legislated for the Presbyterian Mutual Society to enter into administration to allow depositors' assets to be maximised.

"In providing help to building societies like the Dunfermline and guaranteeing deposits for the Icelandic bank, Icesave, Her Majesty's Government's actions were designed to directly offset the potential effects on depositors.

"As UK tax payers, PMS members with deposits should be afforded the same treatment," she said.

"It is now up to the Government to honour the Prime Minister's commitment to do 'whatever it takes' to protect people's savings and not let any UK depositor lose out.

"It is important that Northern Ireland depositors in the PMS are treated no less fairly than their counterparts whose deposits in the Icelandic banks, for example, are being fully protected."

(BMcC/JM)

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