Asked what some of the key outcomes from the Prime Minister’s meeting with Harper was, the PMS said that a read out would be provided shortly.
Asked where the government is with child poverty, the PMS underlined the key points made earlier in the day by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The PMS also made clear that the government’s focus was on the route cause of child poverty. The PMS was also questioned on whether the Prime Minister is concerned that more than half of children live in absolute poverty. The PMS made clear there had been a 100,000 reduction in families living in poverty and that measures which work alongside reform were the focus, with education being absolutely the right way forward. Asked if the government is committed to eradicating relative child poverty by 2020, the PMS said the government was looking at the right way of assessing the drivers behind poverty. The PMS made clear that the previous approach is failing, which is why the government is committed to looking at a different approach.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
Asked if it was possible to get the reason behind Hester’s departure, the PMS made clear that the reasons had already been set out by Hester and the RBS board. Questioned further on whether the government was involved in Hester’s departure, the PMS referred back to his previous answer and added that it was up to the RBS board to lead the company through private ownership and beyond. The PMS made clear that was the correct approach. Asked whether the PMS had any idea who was going to take over from Hester, the PMS said recruitment was a matter for the RBS board.
Asked if the Prime Minister was happy for ministers to make speeches that are not part of their specific remit, the PMS said all ministers are committed to public sector reform.