Special advisers, wind farms, inflation, the Olympics and Afghanistan were discussed at this press briefing.
Asked whether the PM would be laying a written statement on special advisers, the PMS said that there would be a statement on the number of special advisers alongside other details of their employment.
Asked why an announcement on renewable energy and wind farms was not taking place that day, the PMS said thatwe had not confirmed an announcement would be made. We had consulted on the issue and would come forward with proposals in due course. The government needed to set out the subsidy levels for various technologies for the period 2013-17 and as soon as the government was ready to do so it would.
Asked whether the announced inflation figures were proving that the Chancellor was on the right track, the PMS said that the improvement in the inflation figures was being driven by fuel and clothing prices in particular. The fact that inflation was coming down was good news and provided some relief for families. It should support high street spending and growth in months to follow.
Asked whether the PM was concerned that G4S recruits were not turning up for work, the PMS said that it was worth recapping on issues that had not been covered by the media. The longest queue at Heathrow the day before had been 25 minutes and was for non-EEA travellers. That was on one of the busiest days ever at Heathrow. The government had put extra resources in place and was dealing with what was a very challenging period. On transport, traffic had been flowing well in central London. On security, we had been monitoring the situation. The military were very much involved in the Olympic Games but the government was confident it would deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games.
There were contingency plans in place and we would make sure we had the necessary people in place.
Asked about the knock on effect on street policing if officers were deployed to Olympic events, the PMS said that the government were deploying the necessary resources.
Asked if the government was considering withdrawing troops from Afghanistan earlier than expected, the PMS said that the government’s position had not changed. British troops would not be in a combat role beyond the end of 2014. The PM had made it clear that he wanted to see a steady troop drawdown.
Asked if cost was a part of the judgment on the rate of troop drawdown in 2014, the PMS said that the issues would be considered at the appropriate time. When the government had made its judgment, it would make an announcement. The PM had already made it clear he did not want to see a cliff edge with troop figures falling rapidly in 2014. We wanted to see a steady and measured troop draw down.