Details on NI mutual rescue unclear


THE NORTHERN Ireland Executive has yet to agree the exact level of financial support it will provide to help stricken savers in the failed Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS).

The UK government unveiled plans last month to support a £200 million (€235.4 million)rescue operation to assist thousands of people who have their life savings tied up with the PMS and are unable to access their money.

The society, which was not regulated by the UK’s Financial Services Authority, was forced into administration in November 2008 following a run on its funds.

In the last two years savers with significant funds in the PMS have got 12 per cent of their investment back but others with less than £20,000 invested have not received a single penny.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to give the North’s Executive £25 million in cash and a £175 million loan to create a rescue fund but the Executive will also have to find up to £25 million to inject into this fund.

To date no firm arrangements have been put in place by the Northern Ireland Executive as to how the rescue fund should proceed and how much exactly the Executive will be able to contribute.

There is also a fresh debate under way about how much the Presbyterian Church should commit to any rescue fund that eventually gets up and running.

Last year the church agreed to give £1 million to a hardship element of a package which was then being put together by the Executive. It is likely the Presbyterian Church will now be asked to contribute to the current rescue package and some former savers in the PMS believe the Church should offer to contribute at least up to £5 million to it.

According to the church it has not been formally asked yet by the Executive to contribute to the proposed rescue fund.