The PMS set out the aims for the PM’s trip to Algeria. Answering questions about the government’s approach to North Africa, the PMS said that there was clearly a threat from terror attacks as we had seen in the recent incident at In Amenas and we wanted to stand side by side in the fight against terrorism in the region. The government wanted to diminish those threats in the region and was already providing support for the French government in Mali. The PM’s visit aimed to strengthen our bilaterial relations including on security and intelligence with the Algerians on his visit, but talks would also focus on other issues such as health and trade which is why the Trade Envoy to Algeria, Lord Risby, was also accompanying the PM.
Questioned about any emerging threat from Algerians already in the UK, the PMS said that the PM’s visit was about building relations in Algeria. The diaspora of communities in the UK enriched the country’s diverse culture. Specifically on internal security, the government continued to monitor the security situation.
Asked whether the PM was disappointed with the Office of Fair Trading’s decision not to launch an inquiry into the auto fuel market, the PMS said that it was a matter for the Office of Fair Trading. The Department for Energy and Climate Change would consider the findings.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) budget
Asked about the MOD budget, the PMS said that the MOD now had an agreed budget, a balanced budget and it was the fourth largest defence budget in the world.