Business Secretary’s speech
Asked whether it was the Government’s policy to return to the principle of sharing the proceeds of growth in future, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that questions about the future course of fiscal policy were something for the Chancellor to decide at future budgets. For the present time we had a significant deficit that we needed to deal with, and we had to do that in order to ensure sustainable growth. Put that during his speech today the Business Secretary had effectively ridiculed the Prime Minister for his comments on growth before the election, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said the Business Secretary had said nothing today that he had not said in the past; his views on the financial crisis were well known.
Asked on what basis people should trust future economic forecasts given everyone failed to see the last recession coming, the PMS said this was about the Government’s past forecasting record; one thing worth noting about this Government’s approach was that it no longer did its own forecasting. The Office for Budget Responsibility conducted the forecasts on an independent basis.
Asked if the Prime Minister had read the Business Secretary’s speech, the PMS said that No 10 had seen a copy of the speech.
Asked if the Prime Minister believed rich pensioners should get an increase to their universal benefit in their state pension when rich parents should not by having their child benefit removed, the PMS said that our objective was that there should be a simple state pension for future pensioners, which was easy to understand and affordable, and we were looking at how we could achieve that. We had already taken a step to introduce a triple lock so the basic state pension would increase each year in line with earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent, whichever was the greatest.