Asked whether the unemployment figures released that morning showed green shoots, the PMS said that the figures showed encouraging signs and were a step in the right direction, but there was still a long way to go. The government were going to press ahead with programmes getting people back to work and encourage the creation of private sector jobs.
Asked to comment on why the figures implied the progress for women was worse than men, the PMS said that the number of women in work has risen on the previous quarter’s figures.
Asked whether the PM agreed with a Treasury source that said the employment strategy was all going to plan, the PMS said that the government was sticking with its plan to deal with the deficit and create jobs.
Asked whether there was any comment on reports that the number of private sector vacancies was dropping, the PMS said that the figures show that the private sector is still creating jobs and the number of vacancies has held firm. The private sector employment is up 45,000 in the last quarter and that more than compensates for the reduction of jobs in the public sector.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Asked whether the PM had any response to the news that Aung San Suu Kyi had agreed to visit Britain in the coming months, the PMS said that Downing Street had not received formal acceptance of the Prime Minister’s invitation.
Harmful online content
Asked whether the PM had any view on the cross party report into harmful online content and the impact on young children, the PMS said that the PM thought more must be done to protect children from harmful online content. The government is looking at issues raised in the report.
Asked whether the PM welcomed the fact that ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is now a co-defendant in a legal case regarding Rendition, the PMS said she would not comment on the details of a specific case. The government stands firmly against torture and takes the allegations seriously.
Asked whether the government would resist any attempts to have potential written authorisation disclosed publicly, the PMS said she would not enter into discussions of the case.
Asked whether the government would urge Jack Straw to disclose details of any written sanction of rendition, the PMS said she would not comment on the details of the case.
Asked whether the PMS could confirm that prorogation would begin next Thursday, the PMS said she could not.
TSC report into QE
Asked whether the PM would look at the recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee report into the impacts of quantitative easing on pensioners, the PMS said that quantitative easing is a matter for the Bank of England and the Treasury would be responding in due course.
Asked whether the government was planning any concessions on the Finance Bill, the PMS referred the journalist to the Treasury.
Asked whether the PM had any views on a pasty amendment, the PMS said that the government sticks by the Budget. Difficult decisions have to be made but fair decisions have underpinned the Budget.