I wish to present a petition to the House of Commons on behalf of more than 30,000 people across Northern Ireland. It relates to the Presbyterian mutual society. The petition is as follows:
To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The Humble Petition of the Presbyterian Mutual Society,
Sheweth that the Prime Minister should provide similar governmental guarantees to UK mutual societies as for banks; notes that the catalyst for the financial difficulties experienced by the Presbyterian Mutual Society arose after the Government applied their existing guarantee under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to a number of UK Banks and Icelandic Banks; notes that this resulted in a large number of investors with the Presbyterian Mutual Society withdrawing their deposits; and acknowledges that with Government intervention the Society could be returned to its sound financial footing.
We note that in the case of the Dunfermline building society in Scotland, there was Government intervention. We hope that Presbyterians in Northern Ireland can be treated with the same degree of generosity by a Presbyterian Prime Minister and his Government. The petition continues:
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will urge the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to extend the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to include the Presbyterian Mutual Society and seek to secure appropriate intervention from the financial sector to provide a basis on which all members will be able to recover their investments in full.
I thank colleagues in the House from Northern Ireland constituencies, including my hon. Friend the Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Campbell), and the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady), both of whom have supported the cause of savers with the Presbyterian mutual society. The petitioners pray that the House will come to their aid in this matter, and the petition concludes:
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.