Press briefing: noon 21 May 2013
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The PMS made a readout of the morning Cabinet meeting and answered questions on Europe, A&E, the economy, equal marriage, tax, and policing.
The Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) provided a readout of the Cabinet meeting held that morning. The meeting had covered parliamentary business, A&E performance, growth strategy, sexual violence against vulnerable people, the WW1 centenary and the upcoming European Council.
Asked about the discussions on the European Council, the PMS said the PM summarised the agenda for the upcoming meeting. Tax and transparency would be the focus, and President Van Rompuy would update the Council on reforms to the Eurozone.
Asked to provide the PM’s view on A&E performance, the PMS said that recent statistics had shown A&Es were exceeding the target that 95% of patients were either admitted or discharged within 4 hours. There were one million more people visiting A&E than 3 years ago and the Health Secretary had been explaining the need to view A&E treatment in a wider context within primary care.
Questioned on the economy, and whether there were signs of ‘green shoots’, the PMS said that the economy was healing. The inflation figures for April had seen a drop from the previous month’s rates. Over 1.25 million private sector jobs had been created and the deficit was down by a third. The PM thought the country was on the right track and it was important we stuck to it. Asked whether the government would change course after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had delivered their Article IV report, the PMS said that he would not speculate on the IMF report, but the government believed it had the right economic approach.
Asked whether the PM would be providing his view on equal marriage again, the PMS said that the PM’s view was well known. He had voted in the House last night and had previously said he was a big believer in marriage. He believed gay people should be able to marry as well.
Asked to comment on reports that Apple avoided paying tax in a number of territories, the PMS said that he would not comment on an individual company’s circumstances, but would make the wider point that companies must pay the tax that is due. The reform of the global tax rules was at the heart of the G8 agenda and was the main business of the upcoming European Council.
Asked whether the PM agreed with the College of Policing’s guidelines on naming people on arrest, the PMS said that the PM agreed with the Home Secretary’s stance.