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Presbyterian Mutual Society

Volume 512: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2010

11. What recent discussions he has had on his Department’s policy in response to the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. (4215)

I have held a number of discussions with both Treasury Ministers and Ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive in recent weeks as we seek to identify options to assist members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. The reconvened PMS ministerial working group will meet soon to review progress.

I welcome the Secretary of State’s reply, which will give some reassurance to the thousands of people in Northern Ireland affected by the collapse. Does he recognise that there have been 18 months between the collapse of the society and the general election, and that this is another example of the Labour party leaving a mess for us to sort out?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, because it was a boast of the previous Prime Minister that

“No UK depositor has lost money.”

That is why we have decided to grip the issue, and why I will chair the working group. I very much hope that we will come to a resolution soon.

Rather than those on both sides of the House playing party politics with the needs of savers in Northern Ireland, can the Secretary of State tell the House when he will come to a conclusion, so that savers, especially pensioners who are hard pressed at this time, can access and use their money?

We have been in power only seven weeks. We have set up the working group. We will set about our work with determination, and I hope we will provide a solution soon.

Speaking as someone who was very kindly treated by the Garda when I made a map-reading error in hot pursuit, may I ask my right hon. Friend what the relationship currently is between the Garda and the Police Service of Northern Ireland?

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but unfortunately his question does not relate to the response to the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. I hope he will take that gentle admonition in the spirit in which it was intended.