The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on G4S Olympics security, the mid-term review and oil prices.
Asked when the PM had been made aware of the shortfall in G4S security staff given he chairing contingency meetings for the Olympics, the PMS said that it was important to step back and recognize the scale of the Olympic project, which had been delivered on time and on budget. It was also important to recognize that there were going to be challenges given the large numbers of visitors to London. The government had contingency plans and they would need to be drawn upon from time to time. The Home Secretary had already made it clear that the government had only been in a position to decide to implement the security staffing contingency in the middle of the previous week.
Asked whether the government was going to rule out that more armed forces, the PMS said that he would not enter into speculation. The government would take all necessary steps to ensure a safe Olympics Games.
Asked to comment on reports that the government had been aware that G4S would fail to meet its obligations back in April, the PMS said that we had been monitoring the contract over recent months. The government’s responsibility was to ensure we had effective contingency plans in place, which we had.
Asked whether the PM was doing his job properly if he had not been part of the contingency planning process, the PMS said that the PM had been involved in the process of planning the Olympics throughout, which had involved many meetings in recent months.
Asked whether the armed forces brought in to deal with the Olympic security would receive recognition or bonuses, the PMS said that the government was very grateful that the armed forces were available to be called on at such short notice to ensure a safe Olympic Games. The Defence Secretary had made it very clear that if any leave missed there would be arrangements to ensure that leave could be taken at a later stage. Asked if anybody would be out of pocket over the issue, the PMS said that we are determined to ensure that nobody lost out and G4S had made it clear that they would be meeting the costs of the armed forced being deployed.
Asked whether the operation of the Olympic lanes would be reviewed over the following weeks, the PMS said that staging the Olympic Games meant that there would be disruption in London. There were arrangements in place to ensure athletes got to their venues on time, but use of the lanes would be monitored throughout.
Asked whether G4S volunteered to meet the costs of the deployment of armed forces or whether this was a contractual requirement, the PMS said that the important thing was that they had stated they would meet the costs.
Asked whether the mid-term review announced by the PM that morning would contain new policy, the PMS said that the review would look backwards as well as forwards. It would also look ahead to priorities, but would not replace the Coalition Agreement. Asked whether there was still a plan to enact everything in the Coalition Agreement, the PMS said that the government was still committed to everything in the agreement.
Oil price manipulation
Asked whether the PM was concerned about the potential manipulation of oil prices, the PMS said that it was important to have efficient and fair markets. If there was evidence of manipulation in the markets, it should be investigated by the regulators.