Asked to clarify whether the business case for Universal Credit had been passed, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) pointed to the Nicky Morgan MP PQ answer to Stephen Timms MP, which stated there was a gradual roll-out process and the Treasury had approved funding for the programme in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The PMS added this was in line with the ministerial announcement of 5 December 2013, made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with Francis Maude’s comments that a document setting out the role of a permanent secretary did not reflect the position accurately, the PMS said the Cabinet Office had made a statement on this.
Home Office inquiry
Asked when the terms of reference and the chair of the overarching child abuse inquiry would be announced, the PMS said there would be an announcement soon.
Asked why the Prime Minister had decided to hold an overarching inquiry into child abuse allegations, the PMS said firstly there were specific questions around information the Home Office had during the period of 1979 to 1999 which was why the Home Office Permanent Secretary had announced there would be further detailed consideration of that work. Secondly, the Home Secretary, with the full support of the Prime Minister, had announced an overarching panel inquiry into the questions and concerns relating to child abuse allegations.
Asked for the Prime Minister’s thoughts on Lord Richards’ comments on news British troops would be pulling out of Afghanistan, the PMS said the Prime Minister had always been clear there would be a gradual process of drawing down rather than a ‘cliff edge’ approach when withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Asked how long the Prime Minister estimated democracy would last following withdrawal from Afghanistan, the PMS said progress had been made. He said the Prime Minister would point to the recent presidential election in Afghanistan which had passed peacefully. He added Britain would continue to support military training in Afghanistan and said there would also be future support from DFID.