Petition calls for help for collapsed mutual

A petition calling for British government help for nearly 10,000 investors who have lost millions in the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society will be formally presented in the House of Commons today.

More than 28,000 people have signed the call for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown - son of a Presbyterian minister – to help those hit by the collapse of the Belfast-based society.

Presbyterian moderator Dr Donald Patton will hand over the numerous pages of signatures to Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson who, later in the day, will present the petition to parliament.

The moderator said: “This is an excellent response and shows the widespread depth of feeling and concern about this issue.

“It is another way in which we can continue to highlight the case of the Presbyterian Mutual Society and its members and be supportive of all that our politicians and others are doing in trying to resolve the matter.”

During his visit to London, Dr Patton is expected to meet representatives from the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, and discuss the situation with North MPs and peers as well as MPs from across the House of Commons who signed an early day motion in support of the society.

Dr Patton wrote to Mr Brown in January urging him to help, saying that it was his insistence that money in banks was guaranteed by the government which led to the run on the funds of the society as members sought a safe home for their cash.

He said Mr Brown had a moral duty to provide similar guarantees for society members as he had been the cause of their problems.

Mr Patton has received a reply from Mr Brown and not been granted his request for a face-to-face meeting.

But he said Mr Brown had assured him he was aware of the difficulties faced by investors in the society, sympathised with their plight and would continue to monitor developments as matters progress.


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