Press Release 72 Date 4.11.99

Subject: In response to the recent Treasury Select Committee on demutualisation the Government has today asked the Building Societies Commission to consider increasing the number of members of building societies required to propose motions, or candidates, or call meetings. But the Government will not introduce primary legislation as recommended by the all party committee to offer more substantial protection from carpetbagging. See for details SOBS response Bob Goodall says “Increasing numbers needed to call meetings is fine- But it’s too late! carpetbaggers will still get the numbers they need.” “The carpetbaggers are far more organised -than ever before. Not only that! when the wretched name “carpetbagging” is mentioned in relation to a beleaguered building society -part of our population -more than we would wish- immediately tune into what is going on and add their support for demutualisation” “Requiring a few more names is not be my idea of democracy! When you consider the MILLIONS of members who belong to some of the larger societies, they’re not difficult to get. Even the monster raving looney party can muster a couple of hundred votes in a parliamentary election where the electorate averages a mere 60,000! Bob Goodall says “We are disappointed that the government is not at this time able to support primary legislation to protect societies. For a start, Borrowers really should be given the same rights as savers in any vote for conversion. The all party Treasury Select Committee recognised this and recommended that this should be made law.” SOBS will now fall back to the second stage of it’s strategy: On November 25th backbench MPs enter a ballot for the right to introduce a Private Members Bill to Parliament. SOBS will encourage all eligible MPs to submit their names and if successful to put their name to a bill to give mutual building Societies a level playing field. “Although some might say there are a lot of worthy causes for MPs to choose from we would argue that mutual building societes have waited long enough in the queue.” “The ship of mutuality is going down! It is time to pull the remaining mutuals from the water. If the government will not listen, it is up to all socially minded MPs to consider throwing the movement a lifeline if they are successful in the ballot.” says Bob Goodall (“My personal view is that if this government allows the mutual building society movement to be fed to the sharks it will not be forgotten! Loyal Labour Party supporters and activists all over the country expect to see positive action taken to protect societies” Melanie Johnson should ignore the “suits” in the Treasury and follow her own instincts which we know are strongly in favour of protecting mutuals.” says Bob Goodall) Note to the Editor 1) At present for a society to convert requires the support of 75% of savers on a 50% turnout but only a majority of borrowers on any turnout. This cannot be right! Borrowers have a least an equal commitment to societies as savers if not more. The Treasury Select Committee recommended that the borrowers criteria for conversion should be increased to that currently enjoyed by savers. “This would be the most effective way of safeguarding societies from the predators” says Bob Goodall.” 2) Information on Private Members Bills and the forthcoming ballot can be obtained from the House of Commons public information office tel 0171 219 4272 Press Release by Bob Goodall co-ordinator “Save Our Building Societies” campaign tel 01727 847 370(24hrs)