Press release

Press Briefing - morning 27 March 2012

Cabinet briefing, Falklands and stamp prices were among topics discussed at the daily 10 Downing Street press briefing.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Cabinet briefing

Asked to provide detail on the government’s contingency plans on a fuel tankers driver strike, the PMS said that although all options were being explored, the MOD were currently in discussions with the tanker companies to look at possibilities for military staff being trained on company vehicles. This training would take eight days.

Asked whether the emergency services were stockpiling fuel, or would be given priority in the instance of a shortage of supply, the PMS said that the emergency services would need to function normally and the government were looking at contingencies.

Asked whether the whole Cabinet was behind the use of the military to distribute fuel, the PMS said that the whole Cabinet were behind the proposal.

Asked whether the government was satisfied that it was safe to use drivers with only eight days of training, the PMS said that the military drivers would already be holding HGV licenses and the government were also looking at a range of other options.

Asked whether the government was satisfied that contingency options being considered would prevent a fuel shortage, the PMS said that if a strike goes ahead there would be some disruption and so the government did not want to see the strike go ahead.

Asked whether training had already commenced or would commence in the coming days, the PMS said that military training including the training of personnel on HGVs was always ongoing, but the training of personnel on private company tanker equipment had not commenced.

Asked whether the government would advise the public to fill up their petrol tanks now, the PMS said that people should draw their own conclusions on their access to fuel, but it is important that individuals and companies relying on fuel should have contingency plans in place.

Asked where else the government could source a large number of drivers to distribute fuel around the country, the PMS said the government was considering a number of options.

Asked whether there was any discussion on Budget measures at Cabinet, the PMS said that there was not.

Asked which Cabinet ministers had contributed to the discussions on the Growth Agenda, the PMS said that the Education Secretary, Chancellor, Home Secretary and the Minister for the Cabinet Office had contributed.

Asked which departments were involved in the ministerial meetings on fuel, the PMS said that the Department for Transport, Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Defence and Home Office were all represented.
Asked whether the Business Secretary had contributed to discussions on growth and visas, the PMS said that he had not discussed visas but had contributed to other discussions.

Asked if there was any discussion of party funding at Cabinet, the PMS said it was discussed briefly at the end of the Cabinet meeting. The PM updates colleagues on measures taken.

Asked if droughts were discussed at Cabinet, the PMS said the Environment Secretary gave an update to ministers.


Asked whether the government was worried by the Argentine Foreign Minister’s accusations on the UK’s nuclear asset positioning, the PMS referred the journalist to the comments made by the British Ambassador to the UN. The government believes the people of the Falklands have a right to self determination.

Stamp Prices

Asked whether the PM believed 60p was a fair price for a first class stamp, the PMS said that no price increases are welcome however the top priority is the protection of the universal service. The Royal Mail needs to be financially viable and it is welcome that they are making an offer of discounted stamps for some families at Christmas.


Asked how long the government had been having discussions about selling a stake of RBS to Abu Dhabi, the PMS said that UKFI were leading on all discussions and referred the journalist to a statement released by the Treasury.

Asked how the PM would explain selling RBS at a loss, the PMS said that the government’s aim was to return RBS to full health so it can support the UK economy. The current strategy is working towards that aim. The long term aim is to return RBS to the private sector, but only when it has delivered value for money for the taxpayer.

Risk Register

Asked when the government was going to publish the NHS Risk Register, the PMS said that the position had not changed and the government were still awaiting the detail of the ruling before publishing the register.

Updates to this page

Published 27 March 2012