Press briefing: morning 3 February
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on smoking in cars, flooding, Scotland, and the Help to Buy Scheme.
Asked about the Foreign Secretary’s meeting with his German counterpart, the PMS said he expected EU reform and Iran to be discussed alongside other issues.
Smoking in Cars
Asked about smoking in cars, the PMS said the PM would continue to listen to the arguments made on all sides.
Asked about changes made at Ofsted, the PMS said changes were made by the Education Secretary and No10 had been informed. Baroness Morgan’s replacement would be appointed following the usual public appointment process with independent oversight from the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
Asked about the government’s response to flooding, the PMS said the government would be spending more money in this 4 year period than the 4 year period prior to 2010. There was also a capital investment programme running through to 2020. Spending was in rural, coastal and urban areas. The immediate priority was to provide relief to the communities affected by flooding. Asked about premium rates on flood helplines, the PMS said the government would look into scrapping the premium charges as quickly as possible.
Asked whether the PM would allow Scotland to remove the cap on spare room subsidy following a request from the Scottish Government, the PMS said the Scottish Government had written to the DWP and would receive a reply in the usual way.
Help to Buy
Asked whether the PM was concerned the Help to Buy scheme was causing a London housing bubble, the PMS said the PM thought Help to Buy was an excellent scheme. 75% of properties purchased using Help to Buy were outside London. The overall average price for homes bought under the scheme was £175,000. The government had introduced changes meaning foreign property investors had to pay capital gains tax.