Asked when the PM received a copy of the report of the Independent Panel into the Hillsborough tragedy, the PMS said it had arrived in Downing Street on Wednesday morning after copies had been presented to the families of the victims.
In response to several questions about the European Commission’s plans for a banking union, the PMS said the Government was keen to look at the details of the proposals that had been put forward.
The Government had consistently argued that a banking union was an essential part of the single currency and the European Central Bank was the right organisation to take on the supervisory role. The PMS said it was important that banking union respected the integrity of a single market and was encouraged that the proposals outlined appeared to recognise that point.
Asked about reports that the Army could have a role should there be a general strike, the PMS said the Government did not want strikes and did not think there was justification for strike action, which would not benefit anyone.
Asked if there had been discussions about a possible military deployment, and whether any plans were being considered in light of calls for strike action, the PMS said, as always, the Government has contingency plans in place to take account of a range of scenarios but there had been no changes to those.
Put that the Government was not doing enough to avoid the threat of a strike, the PMS said that the Government continued to seek a constructive relationship with public sector unions, but would not reopen negotiations on pay and pensions.
Asked whether there had been concerns for UK staff in Libya following reports of the death of the US Ambassador, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary had condemned the attack on the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi. Asked if any British staff were involved, the PMS said that British staff were based in Tripoli; we had no permanent presence in Benghazi.
Asked if the Government continued to be confident of meeting its fiscal targets, the PMS said the most recent OBR forecast showed the Government was on track to meet targets. Put that the OBR might revise its forecast, the PMS said the Government would wait for the updated forecast to be published in December.
In response to a number of questions about Greg Barker and the appointment of an adviser to DECC, the PMS said that as DECC had made clear, the adviser had been appointed through a process run by officials. Asked who had been made aware of the allegations, the PMS said the DECC PUS and the Cabinet Secretary had looked into the appointment, but the key point was that the adviser had been appointed by the department.