Asked about the position of Andy Coulson regarding alleged phone hacking at the News of the World, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that he would not add anything further to what the Prime Minister had said on the subject this morning during his interview.
Asked if there was going to be an announcement on fuel duty ahead of the Budget, the PMS said that the position had not changed: the Prime Minister had asked the Treasury to look at the issue, which they were actively doing. Any announcement would be made at the time of the Budget.
Asked what the Prime Minister would say to people who accused him of rushing through the AV Bill for an artificial deadline, the PMS said that our position remained the same: these political reforms were a central part of the Coalition programme. There had been a lot of debate so far and there was more to come. We would give sufficient time in order for those debates to happen. It remained our intention to implement the package as announced.
Asked if there was any chance that the boundary changes would be separated from the rest of the bill, the PMS said that it remained our intention to implement the package as announced.
Asked why changes to paternity pay wouldn’t take place until 2015, the PMS said that this was a long standing commitment and we wanted to consult with business on how best to proceed, so as to give them enough time to adjust to the changes.
Asked when the changes would be introduced, the PMS said that it would take place in 2015 but no exact date had been set.
Asked if the Prime Minister would have taken ten months paternity pay, the PMS said that it was important to remember that increasingly fathers were playing a more significant role in caring for their children, and we were trying to enable parents to juggle their family life with their working life more effectively. It was the Government’s view that family friendly policies led to a more productive workforce.
Put that current economic conditions were not suitable for these changes to be introduced, the PMS said that through this consultation we were trying to implement this in a way that minimised any burdens on business. More generally, we were looking at the issue of regulation and seeing if we could limit the regulatory burden.
Asked if there would be an announcement this week from the Government and the banks on bonuses, the PMS said that discussions between the Treasury and the banks were ongoing, and there would be an announcement once those discussions had concluded.