Press release

Press briefing: afternoon 15 July 2013

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on the benefit cap, holidays, Syria and education.

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Benefit cap

Asked about the number of people who have actually found work, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the Department for Work and Pensions is using a figure of 61% of people who are in work and who found that work after finding out about the benefit cap.

Challenged that there is no link between the two, the PMS pointed to the Work and Pensions Secretary’s words and that the evidence points towards the work incentive.

Asked what the 61% represents, the PMS said that this is 61% of 500 people notified about the cap who have now found work.

Asked why the government is using polls as evidence for policy, the PMS said that the Department for Work and Pensions has published this research and that is what the government has been pointing to.

Questioned on whether the sample size is too small, the PMS said that the cap has only been rolled out in 4 areas, but there is evidence here that points toward the work incentive.

Asked whether the PM thinks it is good to spend thousands on polling, the PMS said that he had been asked about the importance of pointing to evidence and that is what is being done as a result of the work.

Holidays

Asked about the Prime Minister (PM)’s holiday plans, the PMS said he was not aware of the detail but made the point that the PM is always in charge.

Syria

Asked whether the PM’s wife is influential on Syrian policy, the PMS recommended a good deal of caution with regard to this story. He said that national security policy is driven by, and decisions are taken by, the National Security Council. He said that Mrs Cameron has previously spoken about horrifying experiences when she visited refugees.

Education

Asked what the PM hopes to achieve from the educational review for 16 to 18 year olds, the PMS said that the ambition that sits at the heart of this and at the heart of all education initiatives is that we want to do everything we can to ensure children can fulfil their own ambitions.

Published 16 July 2013