Press release

Press briefing: afternoon 21 March 2013

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

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Scottish Independence, tax policy, the Leveson Inquiry and immigration.

Budget

Asked about the right to buy a second home under the mortgage guarantee scheme the PMS said the Chancellor has been very clear that the policy intention is to support people who want to firstly get on the housing ladder and then move up it. The policy is also about affordability of mortgages and there is now a process of consultation with the industry on the implementation.

Asked how confident the government was that the consultation will come up with a way of preventing people abusing the system the PMS said the point of technical consultations is to work very closely with the industry on a range of policy areas and that is exactly what we will do.

Asked why the government was only including new builds in this scheme the PMS said we have a range of housing interventions to address a number of issues including supply, access, affordability and the impact on the construction sector.

Asked if the intention of the consultation was to stop people buying a second home the PMS said the intention is very clear and the process of consultation is focused on implementing the policy intention. The government recognises the desire that a good number of families want access to the housing market and this policy is design to support that.

Scottish independence

Asked if the PM has a response to the news that a date on the Scottish independence vote was announced the PMS said it is a matter for the Scottish Government and the PM will continue to make the case very strongly that Scotland remaining in the Union is in the best interests of both Scotland and the United Kingdom.

Marriage tax policy

Asked if the PM still remains committed to recognising marriage in tax policy the PMS said there was no change to the position set out in the coalition agreement.

Leveson

Asked was Oliver Letwin representing the government during the Leveson talks the PMS said he was leading the cross party talks on behalf of the Conservative Party.

Banker’s bonuses

Asked if the PM has a view on Mr Ricci’s bonus from Barclays bank the PMS said that under this government bonuses have come down, action has been taken on the bank levy to ensure banks are making a contribution to the fiscal consolidation programme and pointed to the measures the government has taken on transparency and remuneration.

Immigration

Asked if the government’s policy to reduce immigration by tens of thousands still remains the PMS said there is absolutely no change.