The Prime Minister's Spokesperson answered questions on Drummer Rigby, Spending Review, lobbying, James Caan, A&E and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Murder of Drummer Rigby
Asked about the response to the events that led to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that, the Prime Minister had set out his admiration for the work of the security services in his statement of 23 May. The Prime Minister had also said that the Intelligence and Security Centre would carry out an inquiry in the right and proper way.
Asked about discussions on the Spending Review at Cabinet, the PMS said the Chancellor and Chief Secretary to the Treasury had jointly updated the Cabinet on the progress that had been made in setting departments’ budgets for the year 2015/16. Seven departments had already settled and good progress was being made. Several departments were in the final stages of settling. There was agreement that the government needed to cut the deficit and tough decisions would have to be taken. Departments’ budgets would be published on 26 June.
Asked about the Star Chamber, the PMS said there would be an opportunity for the Star Chamber to look at cross cutting issues such as efficiency and to scrutinise budgets.
Asked about the government’s plan to introduce a bill to create a statutory register of lobbyists and curbs on how third parties can spend money on political campaigning, the PMS said the bill would be introduced before the summer recess with the three components previously set out. The package was designed to address the role of third parties in politics.
Asked about James Caan’s comments on parents helping their children find employment, the PMS said that every parent could be expected to want the best for their children. Everyone should be able to succeed and fulfil their potential. The government had, for example, introduced policies to increase the number of apprenticeships.
Accident and emergency (A&E)
Asked about A&E waiting times, the PMS said that over the past five weeks the ninety five percent target had been exceeded. Across the NHS as a whole average long waiting times were at their lowest levels ever. A&E departments had been under pressure and it was important the government continued to take action. There had been £300 million of additional funding to deal with the pressures and Bruce Keogh had begun a review into services. The PM had set out measures in relation to immigrants’ access to NHS services and work was ongoing.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
Asked whether the current size of RBS was sustainable, the PMS said it was important that RBS continued to become a stronger and safer bank that supported the UK economy.