Asked about the Chancellor’s reaction to the IFS report on the spending review, the PMS said that the Chancellor had said he would continue having to make tough choices. Asked whether the Chancellor was pleased the country had not entered a double dip recession in 2012, the PMS said that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revision supported the PM and Chancellor’s assessment that the economy was moving from intensive care and into recovery. The deficit had reduced by a third, there had been over a million jobs created by the private sector and new capital projects had been set out by the Chief Secretary that day. Responding to criticism that the government had not published supporting data alongside the spending review, the PMS said that there had been more information published alongside the Chief Secretary’s announcement on infrastructure projects, and they were 2 parts of the same announcement. More broadly in terms of transparency, this government had done more than any previous administration in term of making available data, statistics and information, and would continue to do so.
Questioned on government support for shale gas extraction, the PMS said that the Chancellor wanted shale gas extraction to go ahead if it was environmentally safe, which he believed it was.
Asked whether the PM was pleased a deal had been struck with the insurance industry for households at risk of flooding, the PMS said that flooding was terrible for anyone involved and the deal was a positive step forward.
Asked what the PM thought of lawyers contacting prisoners over prisoner voting compensation claims, the PMS said that the PM’s stance on prisoner voting was well known and remained unchanged.