Press briefing: morning 21 March 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on the budget, shares for rights and Scottish Independence.
Asked what the government’s view was on people being able to buy second homes on the government’s Help to Buy scheme the PMS said that the Chancellor had set out the government’s position in yesterday’s Budget. The PMS went on to say that the Chancellor was very clear that the intention of the policy was to help those who struggled to buy a home or may be struggling to buy a larger home because their family was increasing in size. The policy was about tackling the affordability issue and as the Chancellor said the right thing to do was to work with the industry on the exact implementation.
Asked if the government was confident the scheme would not be used for people to buy second homes in the country the PMS said the intention was very clear and the government would be consulting on the implementation with industry.
Asked if the government was trying to find a way to stop people using it to buy second homes the PMS said the intention of the policy was exactly as set out in yesterday’s Budget and again this morning when the Chancellor explained it in interviews. The PMS said that the technical areas in policy would form part of a consultation process with the industry.
Asked if there was an unintended consequence that some people were able to buy a second home the PMS said that the Chancellor had explained this during interviews this morning and the right thing to do was to consult on the detail of the implementation, and he was very clear on the policy intention.
Asked if the consultation would be about the potential abuse of the scheme the PMS said that the reason the government consulted on the implementation of policies was to make sure the policy intentions were clearly implemented.
Asked if the current Monetary Policy Committee had been a hindrance to growth the PMS said not at all, that the policy of fiscal constraint supporting monetary activism was why we had seen interest rates at record lows. Asked if the Governor of the Bank of England had been constrained by his current mandate the PMS said that the 2% inflation target had been renewed in the Budget, that the right thing to do was for the Bank of England to consider what more could be done..
Asked which payments the government had delayed to balance the books and did the PM agree with that, the PMS said the entire budget was an agreed government approach and that the Chancellor and Chief Secretary had given examples.
Asked if the PM was pleased to see an under spend to the NHS budget the PMS said when it came to NHS spending the PM was pleased that NHS spending would be £12.5 billion higher in this Parliament in cash terms.
Shares for rights
Asked what the future for the government’s policy on shares for rights was since last nights vote in the House of Lords the PMS said the government’s policy objectives remained the same and the department responsible would know the details of the next steps.
Asked on what plans the government had on persuading the Scottish people to vote no in next year’s referendum on independence the PMS said that there was a team in place to put the case to the Scottish people and that Scotland remaining as part of the union made both nations stronger.