Briefing by the Prime Minister's spokesman on: Intelligence and Security Committee, appointments, Treasury announcement and the Pope's visit.
Intelligence and Security Committee
Asked when the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee would be named, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that he did not know but would come back to people if there was any more information to give.
Asked if the Government would be publishing a list of Special Advisors and whether that list would include salary details, the PMS replied that the Government would publish a list soon and the intention was to be more transparent about their salaries.
Asked if there were any Special Advisors who were separately paid as consultants to the Government, the PMS advised people to wait for the announcement. Asked why the announcement had been held up, the PMS replied that he had consistently said that the announcement would come soon. The PMS added that in the past this had been announced by a Parliamentary Question in July.
Put that if being transparent was the intention, was it fair to assume that the Government had not decided how transparent to be, the PMS replied that people should wait for the announcement.
Put that the former Chancellor had said that there was no substance in the document and it was nothing new, the PMS said that the document was being published at the end of the debate, so people would need to wait for it to be published.
The PMS said that it was new in the sense that it was setting out the details of the spending review and in particular the degree to which the Government was going to consult on the details of that.
Asked if the Government would be consulting on ring-fenced areas such as the NHS, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had been clear that all areas of Government should be looking for greater efficiencies and all areas would be looked at when thinking of ways to do things differently.
Put that the consultation did not exclude those ring-fenced areas, the PMS said that the precise parameters of the consultation would need to be set out by the Treasury, but the intention was to inform the process of allocating resources to departments and thinking about how to deliver services.
Asked if Chris Patten had been brought in because spending on the visit had got out of control and there was now a possibility of the taxpayer having to put more money into it, the PMS said that it was his understanding that this was a joint state and religious visit and therefore the costs were being shared. The PMS added that the proposals for how those costs were being shared had been established for some time and had not changed.