Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning From 29 July 2010
Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Default Retirement Age, Prime Minister's trip to India, Pakistan and Scotland.
Default Retirement Age
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about criticism from some in the business sector that the proposal to scrap the Default Retirement Age (DRA) would create uncertainty, the Prime Minister’s Spokeswoman (PMS) said that the point of this was to give greater choice to both employers and employees. We knew that older workers brought a wealth of talent and experience as employees, and that they had a vital contribution to make.
Put that if there was nothing to take the DRA’s place a vacuum would be created, the PMS said that this was a consultation process so we would listen to views from business.
Put that this would have a negative impact on youth unemployment, the PMS said that research had shown the opposite was true. Retaining more older people in work stimulated the economy, which in turn helped create more job opportunities for everyone, including young people. UK and international evidence had found that younger and older worker employment were not substitutes, and in some cases were complementary.
Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Pensions Minister’s comments on state pension, the PMS said that the government was looking at pension reform and wanted to be assured that the pension met the needs of older people.
Prime Minister’s Trip to India
Asked who decided that the Prime Minister should stay in a hotel that had a butler, the PMS said that accommodation was chosen on both financial and practical considerations. The Prime Minister had said this morning that he wasn’t aware of such a service, but we understood it was the normal practice of the hotel to provide support staff to their visitors.
Asked about staff at Chequers, the PMS said that Chequers was owned by a trust and we wouldn’t go into detail of staff arrangements.
Asked if there had been any representation from the Pakistani government following the Prime Minister’s comments yesterday, the PMS said that the Foreign Secretary was asked the same question this morning and had said that he wasn’t aware of any representations.
Asked what the Prime Minister thought about the Scottish spending review and the fact that health wouldn’t be ring fenced, the PMS said that our spending review was ongoing, and the Prime Minister had made clear our commitment to the health service.