Press briefing - morning 7 February 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on the European summit, the bedroom tax, Chris Huhne and GCSEs.
Asked who the Prime Minister (PM) had spoken to prior to the EU budget, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman (PMS) said he had spoken to Chancellor Merkel, President Van Rompuy, Prime Minister Rutte and Prime Minister Reinfelt, and would hold further bilateral meetings with European leaders in Brussels.
Asked how many like-minded allies there are and what the joint position would be, the PMS said the PM had spoken to other allies who shared our views, and his position was set out in his speech to Parliament in November. What is important is to get a good deal for UK and other European taxpayers.
Asked whether the PM was now more confident of getting a deal, the PMS said the talks would be difficult, but as the PM set out in November, he thought a deal was doable.
Asked how much it would cost to investigate special cases that will be exempt from bedroom tax, the PMS said the relevant department should be contacted, but it was important to address overcrowding in social housing and tackle almost 2 million households on social housing waiting lists.
Asked whether the PM thought Chris Huhne should pay back his ministerial pay off, the PMS said this was a matter for Chris Huhne, and there were legal proceedings that were still ongoing.
Asked whether the PM was happy with keeping GCSEs or would have preferred the previous proposals, the PMS said everyone agreed about the need for significant reform to GCSEs, and the Education Secretary would be setting out the government’s response to the recent consultation.