News story

Press briefing - afternoon 30 January 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 the Scottish referendum, defence budget and tax breaks for married couples.

Scottish referendum

Asked to clarify what the PM had said to Angus Robertson MP at PMQs, the PMS said that the PM’s words would be published in Hansard the following day. Asked if the PM had sworn in PMQs when the microphone was cut off, she said absolutely not. With regards to the broader point of the referendum in Scotland, the government would be publishing evidence-based analysis on Scotland’s position in the UK which would inform people’s views.

MOD budget

Asked about the MOD budget, the PMS said that the MOD now had an agreed budget, a balanced budget and it was the fourth largest defence budget in the world. Referring to reports earlier that day, she also pointed journalists to the commitment the PM had made to increase resources for Special Forces and that agreed adjustments to the budget in 2012/13 and 2013/14 would have no impact on the planned military manpower totals or core equipment programmes.

Tax breaks for married couples

Asked whether the PM was committed to introducing tax breaks for married couples, the PMS said that as set out in the Coalition Agreement, proposals to recognise marriage in the tax system would be brought forward this parliament and as also set out in the Coalition Agreement, provision would be made for the Liberal Democrats to abstain. Proposals would be brought forward in due course but tax was a matter for the Chancellor.