Asked if the thinking behind the Prime Minister’s broadcast Q&A was to sell the Budget, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that it was completely reasonable that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were answering questions on what was a significant economic event yesterday.
Put that the Prime Minister did not answer the Leader of the Opposition’s question about tax credits during PMQs, the PMS said that the Prime Minister did answer the question, and there was a table on page 64 of the Red Book, published yesterday, which showed examples of families’ tax credit entitlement per year by income level. We published these figures in the Red Book in order to be transparent about the impact of the Budget. There was no revelation regarding tax credits, as all the information was published yesterday.
Asked why the Chancellor had now taken the decision to try and eliminate the whole of the structural deficit when during the campaign he had only talked about tackling the bulk of it, the PMS said that the mandate was to eliminate the structural budget deficit by 2015/16, but the Budget set out measures that would achieve that a year earlier, taking a cautious approach.
Asked for clarification regarding the Prime Minister’s comments on Sinn Fein during PMQs, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had made his position clear in the past; if people were elected to the House of Commons, then they should attend. In terms of expenses, they were now a matter for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.