From the Prime Minister's spokesperson on strikes, autumn statement, home affairs and lobbying.
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) told the assembled media that the Prime Minister was in the East Midlands visiting Toyota and Nestle where he would welcome significant investment announcements and jobs creation from both companies.
Asked about the estimated cost of strike action, the PMS said that strikes could hit the economy by reducing output in both the public and private sector. The Treasury estimated that strikes could cost the economy half a billion pounds.
Asked about the status of the talks, the PMS replied that the Government had recently put an improved offer on the table and that negotiation with the unions was ongoing. He explained that separate negotiations were taking place for the different pension schemes.
Asked about what contingency plans existed, the PMS replied that contingency plans were being worked on.
Put that a strike would have the same impact as a Bank Holiday, the PMS said that wasn’t a precise comparison.
Asked when reform on minister’s pensions would be announced, the PMS confirmed that proposals would be brought forward and that Government would make sure they were fair. He stated that the Prime Minister had already announced that he would not be claiming his Great Office of State pension.
Asked about the timing of the OBR forecast, the PMS replied that the OBR were an independent body and that media should ask them about the precise choreography for their announcement.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was confident that the Government would bring down levels of migration, the PMS explained that Government had taken a number of measures to tighten up the system and would continue to do that. He pointed out that fewer people were leaving the UK and that was driving the figures. He stated that clearly the process takes time but said Government was implementing changes.
Asked about the wisdom of continuing a risk-based approach to border control, the PMS said that the basic principal under plans was that a smarter and more targeted approach was needed.
Put that TPIMs were ‘a mess’, the PMS denied that was the case and explained that a small number of people on control orders needed to be transferred onto the new system. He said that given the practicalities of court time it was sensible for the time to do this to be extended slightly.
Asked for a response to the letter from MP Peter Flynn, the PMS said a reply would be sent. He said that work to address lobbying was progressing and Mark Harper would announce more details in due course. The PMS added that in this particular case there was no conflict of interest because the individual in question had made clear she would not accept jobs linked to the specific minister’s portfolio.