The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on BBC severance pay, MPs' pay, spying claims, marriage tax breaks and the economy.
BBC severance pay
Asked what the Prime Minister’s view was on the NAO report into BBC severance pay, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that it was important for organisations that were accountable to the taxpayer to justify how money was being spent. He also welcomed the BBC’s willingness to look into future compensation packages offered to its employees.
MP pay rises
Asked what the Prime Minister planned on doing if the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) raised MPs’ pay. The PMS said that the Prime Minister had set out his view very clearly and that it was important to wait and see the outcome of the IPSA’s report. Asked if pay rises for MPs are a matter entirely for the IPSA, the PMS made clear that it is an independent process and therefore rightly an issue for the IPSA. Questioned on whether the Prime Minister believed the independent process should be allowed to run its course, the PMS reiterated the importance of waiting for IPSA’s report.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s view on US spy allegations on EU countries, the PMS said the most important issue was that security within the UK worked within a clear legal framework. Questioned on whether President Hollande’s comments on spy allegations could damage the chances of a joint US and EU trade deal, the PMS made clear that good progress had been made at the G8 summit and the UK would continue to work towards a deal.
Marriage tax breaks
Asked whether comments made by the Deputy Prime Minister on tax breaks for married couples were unfair, the PMS said the Prime Minister was committed to honouring the Coalition Agreement to bring in marriage tax breaks, with an announcement on how the government will legislate to be made by the Chancellor in due course.
Asked whether the Prime Minister had talked down the economy, the PMS made clear the Prime Minister agreed with the assessment the Chancellor gave to the House of Commons at last week’s Spending Review – the economy is out of intensive care but there was still work to be done.