Asked if the PM was disappointed by the OECD’s forecast, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman referred the assembled journalists to the Chancellor’s speech earlier this week, where he had set out that there was still a significant overhang of debt in the UK and many other countries, highlighting that recoveries following financial crises tend to be slower and choppier.
He stressed that the UK had experienced a very sharp and very deep recession and highlighted evidence that showed when it followed a financial crisis, it could take longer to recover from a recession.
Asked if he would like to comment on the risk that the EU’s economy could contract, the PMS said that the OECD had forecast continued growth in the UK and had also revised its forecasts for the rest of the world. He highlighted that the Chief Economist of OECD said that the Government should not change its path.
Asked if the PM would accept that the OECD had predicted a double dip recession, the PMS replied that OECD had not predicted that.
Asked if the UK was taking a passive approach to dealing with the deficit, the PMS replied that it was a question of setting the right economic policy. For countries with significant deficits, the priority was to have plans in place to tackle them.
Asked for the PM’s view on the next Public and Commercial Services Union strike, the PMS replied that the PM had already made his position clear. He highlighted that even following the proposed reforms, public sector pensions would still be among the very best available.
Asked if he was aware when the PM had apologised to Nadine Dorries, the PMS replied that he contacted her yesterday.
European Commission of Human Rights
Asked for a response to the European Commission of Human Rights interim report, the PMS replied that it was interim advice from the Commission, which the Government would reflect on. He said that as the chair of the Council of Europe, the UK would press for three main areas of reform: firstly to reinforce individual nation state’s primary responsibility for protecting the convention, secondly to make the legal process more effective and tackle the backlog of applications and thirdly to ensure there was a good process in place to nominate judges.
Asked what action the PM had taken following the publication of the public inquiry into Baha Mousa, the PMS replied that the Ministry of Defence were taking forward action and had already addressed many of the issues.