The Prime Minister's spokesperson answered questions on the UK's nuclear deterrent, the EU budget and child benefit.
Setting out the Government’s position on a nuclear deterrent, the PMS said that we were committed to an at sea nuclear deterrent and the Cabinet Office was leading a review on behalf of the Liberal Democrats to explore other credible alternatives at lower cost. The progress for the design and development of a deterrent needed to go ahead, while the decision on construction would be taken in 2016. The Cabinet Office review would inform that decision.
Answering questions on the EU budget, the PMS said that the PM had been clear on his position; there was no case for a real terms increase and he wanted a real terms freeze whilst protecting the UK’s rebate. At a time when European countries had to tighten their belts at home a freeze in EU budget was very important. Asked whether the PM would support a motion backing a restriction in the free movement of the labour market around the EU, the PMS said that the UK was a member of the EU, which promoted free movement of people.
Detailing the UK position on Hurricane Sandy, the PMS said that the Government was monitoring the situation closely and the Foreign Office was on hand to offer consular assistance as required.
Asked whether the PM agreed that the decision to limit child benefit was excruciatingly difficult, the PMS said that it was one of the tough decisions that the Government had to make. The vast majority of people would be unaffected and HMRC would be informing families who would be affected. Those with the broadest shoulders should carry the greatest burden and it was very difficult to justify paying child benefit to the wealthiest 15% of families.