Structural reform plans
Asked about the structural reform plan updates, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that we had published structural reform plans for every department during the summer, setting out the main things those departments would do and by what time. Each department also committed to publishing monthly updates on progress.
Asked if the plans were mainly about how to save money, the PMS said that it was more about the key priorities and reforms for each department, for example a key reform for the Home Office was the intention to bring in elected police commissioners.
Strategic Defence and Security Review
Asked if the Prime Minister had any meetings planned this week related to the SDSR, the PMS said that the Prime Minister would have a number of meetings related to the SDSR.
Asked if there was such a meeting planned tomorrow, the PMS said he assumed the meeting in question was the National Security Council, which was a meeting we did not normally comment on in advance, suffice to say it met most weeks.
Asked if the SDSR would be published before or after the Comprehensive Spending Review, the PMS said a final decision on timing had not been made, but the two would be published around the same time.
Asked how many departments had settled their spending plans, the PMS said that the Treasury had confirmed at the end of last week that two Cabinet Ministers were joining the Public Expenditure Committee as they had become eligible to do so as a result of having provisionally settled their budgets. There was no update beyond that.
Asked when the review into higher education would be published, the PMS said that there was not yet a fixed date for publication. The department had said it would be in the autumn.
Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that the company Wolseley was moving its tax base to Switzerland, the PMS said that he would not comment on individual companies’ tax issues.
Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that tax avoidance was a mega sin, the PMS said that the government’s position was that it would take a tough stance on tax avoidance.