Press briefing: morning 29 October 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on digital government, HS2, the Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral and Scotland.
The PMS said that agenda for the Cabinet meeting included a presentation on government digital service, the latest Parliamentary business and an update on the economy.
Asked about what the digital presentation included, the PMS said this was on the digital by default agenda and increasing the amount of government services online. The objective was for this to be simpler for those that use these services.
Asked if the intention was to have every government service online, the PMS said there was a programme of putting more services online. The focus was on those which make up the vast bulk of enquiries such as passports and vehicle licenses.
Asked whether the Prime Minister (PM) agreed with claims from the Transport Secretary that without HS2 parts of the country could become a rust belt, the PMS said this was an important project for the whole country and it was right for the future of the economy.
Asked about the Royal Charter and whether it was raised at Cabinet, the PMS stated that there was a legal process underway. There was cross-party agreement and it was the best way to proceed.
Asked for more detail on this, the PMS said this was part of the work which had been ongoing since September 2012. The objective was stability in Afghanistan and that the UK wanted to support this - which included working with Pakistan.
Asked what the hoped end result was, the PMS said the objective was a stable, secure and safe Afghanistan, which was not a haven for those who wanted to harm us or others. There was an internal challenge and one of the things the UK was doing was training security forces. There was also a regional security and economic angle in that the UK was supporting an Afghanistan that was able to trade and grow.
Asked how serious the fears were that an independent Scotland could risk the security of the UK, the PMS referred to the Home Office analysis paper for more evidence. The government was of the view that the UK was stronger if Scotland was in the UK.
Asked what the PM thought of Sharon Shoesmith’s payout and confidentiality clause, the PMS said that this was a matter between Miss Shoesmith and Haringey council.
Asked what the PM would like to hear the energy companies say at the Energy Select Committee today, the PMS said it was for the companies to explain the decisions they have taken with regards to bills.