Treasury visit over Presbyterian scheme

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AN INFLUENTIAL UK treasury committee visited Belfast yesterday to inquire into the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

The committee, chaired by former Northern Ireland minister John McFall, questioned several current Ministers, including Enterprise Minister and Acting First Minister Arlene Foster, about why a solution had not yet been found to resolve the crisis.

Mr McFall also demanded to know from the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Dr Stafford Carson, if it felt any responsibility to the 10,000 savers left unable to access their funds by the sudden failure of the scheme. Dr Carson said the church was very aware of the plight of its congregation who had invested in the society.

Mrs Foster and the North’s Finance Minister Sammy Wilson told the treasury committee that they both were determined to find a solution that would be in the best interests of all concerned.

The treasury committee meeting in Stormont marks a significant breakthrough for campaigners who have been lobbying the British government to intervene in the saga.

It comes, however, as the administrator of the scheme has warned that it is unlikely that distressed savers and investors will receive any “distribution of capital” back to members before March.

Arthur Boyd said he has “sought direction as to whether I should make a distribution to both loan capital holders and shareholders and a direction on how set-off should be applied for members with borrowings from the society”.

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