Asked whether the PM and Chancellor were feeling optimistic or depressed following mixed news on the economy today, the PMS said that the PM’s view remained the same - the economy was healing but still had some way to go. We are in a difficult economic climate, as demonstrated by news from the Eurozone today. There was mixed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the labour market today, with both youth unemployment and the numbers claiming unemployment down. The key thing is to look at long term trends and stick to the plan that the PM and Chancellor have set out.
Asked about the remit of the European Commission investigation into oil price fixing, the PMS that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) would be providing evidence to the investigation. The PMS said that it was of paramount importance that the investigation looks at all the allegations and gets to the bottom of them. Asked why the UK was not leading the investigation, the PMS said that it was important that the government assist and support the investigation by the European Commission to ascertain the truth and get to the bottom of these extremely serious allegations. The PMS also referred to the statement made earlier by the Energy Secretary Edward Davey, for more detail.
Asked what more can be done to get the EU Bill through, the PMS reiterated the point the PM had made that we will do what we can to get the Bill through, and that we will have the results of the Private Member’s Bill ballot tomorrow.