The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on the Uprating Bill, elderly care costs and Northern Ireland in this briefing session.
Questioned on the PM’s meeting with the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif, the PMS said that there were a number of items on the agenda including the situation in the Middle East and security issues. The Prince was in London and would meet with the PM, the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary.
Responding to questions about the Government’s Uprating Bill, the PMS said that the changes needed to be seen alongside the other measures the Government was taking, including on public sector pay. People receiving tax credits would be impacted but the Government was having to take a series of difficult decisions; within those decisions it was also trying to provide support in a number of areas. Asked whether the PM would vote on the measure, the PMS said that the PM intended to vote.
Elderly care costs
Discussing a cap on elderly care costs, the PMS said that the Mid Term Review had set out the Government position and more details would be published in due course.
Green on Blue
Setting out the PM’s stance on the recent Green on Blue attack on ISAF forces, the PMS said that they were tragic incidents. His thoughts were with the friends and family of the deceased. There had been a number of steps taken to protect forces in Afghanistan, including stronger vetting and screening of Afghan security forces and a stepping up of counter intelligence efforts. The military always kept force protection under review.
Questioned on the Government’s position on the violence in Northern Ireland, the PMS said that the Northern Ireland Secretary had set out the position that morning. The Government condemned the violence.
Asked whether the PM agreed with President Barroso’s opinion that the Eurozone’s problems had been overcome, the PMS said that the PM believed the UK economy still faced a series of headwinds, including the on-going economic conditions in the Eurozone. Questioned on the date of the PM’s speech on Europe, the PMS said that it was scheduled for mid-January, as the PM had set out.
International tax and G8
Put that companies bidding for Government contracts should be upfront about their tax arrangements before winning the contract, the PMS said that the PM believed companies should pay their due tax. Tax was one of the PM’s agenda items for the G8. On progress with other G8 agenda items, the Government was in constant dialogue with other G8 members.
Setting out the PM’s position on military redundancies, the PMS said that voluntary redundancies were always preferable. But they needed to be balanced against the operation capability of the armed forces.