Asked if the Prime Minister was pleased at the German support that seemed to be emerging for the new rescue scheme for the Eurozone, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that there was a lot of speculation but there was no specific proposal on the table. Our position was that stability of the Eurozone was in our interest.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about Prime Minister Fillon’s calls for EU countries to harmonise their economic, fiscal and social policies, the PMS said that our position on the EU was as set out in the coalition agreement: we wanted to have a constructive engagement with the EU but we were very clear that we would protect our national sovereignty and we didn’t want to see any transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels.
Asked about transparency regarding bankers’ bonuses, the PMS said that Chancellor said in his statement a few days ago that he wanted to reach a new settlement where banks paid smaller bonuses and were also more transparent about those they paid. These issues were part of ongoing discussions between the Treasury and the banks.
Asked what the Prime Minister made of John Redwood’s comments on inflation, the PMS said that monetary policy and interest rate decisions were matters for the Bank of England, taken independently of the Government.
Put that the Bank of England were failing to keep inflation at the target level, the PMS referred journalists to the most recent letter by the Governor of the Bank of England as to why inflation had moved away from target.
Put that there was speculation that the two parts of the AV Bill would be separated, the PMS said that there were no proposals to divide those two measures: they were part of the same package and that was the intention from day one, as set out in the coalition agreement.
Asked if the Prime Minister thought it was fair that central government cuts in funding to areas such as Manchester resulted in the loss of double the amount of jobs expected, the PMS said that the specific decision the journalist referred to was a matter for that particular council. This all went back to what we had to do to deal with the deficit. In order to deal with the deficit we had to make some difficult decisions, and we thought there was a lot of scope for all parts of government, including local government, to make greater efficiencies and protect frontline services.