» Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Road Pricing

Asked to comment on the story in today's Times that Councils were complaining that access to money to fund transport projects would only be given if linked to road pricing, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that without commenting on the story, what we had said all along was that we were going to carry out 10 pilot schemes, and discussions about those were ongoing. It was important to keep stressing that these pilots schemes were precisely to work out what was possible in tackling congestion, how we go about it, and to learn from the experience. This was not a one step to a national road pricing scheme. Doing nothing was not an option. If we did nothing, the figures showed that there would be a 25% increase in congestion by 2010, a 30% increase in congestion by 2015, and a 40% increase by 2025. People needed to recognise that doing nothing was not an option.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (13)

Road Pricing

Asked to comment on the story in today's Times that Councils were complaining that access to money to fund transport projects would only be given if linked to road pricing, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that without commenting on the story, what we had said all along was that we were going to carry out 10 pilot schemes, and discussions about those were ongoing. It was important to keep stressing that these pilots schemes were precisely to work out what was possible in tackling congestion, how we go about it, and to learn from the experience. This was not a one step to a national road pricing scheme. Doing nothing was not an option. If we did nothing, the figures showed that there would be a 25% increase in congestion by 2010, a 30% increase in congestion by 2015, and a 40% increase by 2025. People needed to recognise that doing nothing was not an option.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (19)

Mental Health Bill

Asked what the Government was going to do now regarding the Mental Health Bill, the PMOS replied that we would reflect on the votes that had taken place and then announce our intentions. There would be a period of reflection first.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

ID Cards

Asked to clarify the Prime Minister's email response to an e-petition on ID card security, the PMOS replied that he was somewhat surprised by the story in the Daily Telegraph. Not least because, going back to an article that the Prime Minister wrote for the Telegraph on 06 November 2006, he explicitly discussed precisely what he said in response to the e-petition on ID cards. This was not a new issue. The figure of 900,000 crimes was in the cost report in October 2006; it was one of the five core reasons on the face of the ID Card Act when it was introduced; even going back to the draft Bill in April 2004, it was made clear that the police would be able to check crime scene fingerprints against those held on the national identity register; and the Prime Minister explicitly discussed the issue in his press conference in November 2006 as well. Again, this issue was not a new one.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

Iran

Asked if there was any comment on the BBC 10pm News report on America's plans for Iran, the PMOS replied that the best answer came from the US themselves. The State Department Spokesman had said "We are convinced that sooner or later, the cost for Iran would be so high that they would have to come to the negotiating table. I don't believe that a conflict with Iran is inevitable, we've got time". The PMOS's equivalent in the White House said on 16 January 2007 "We are not planning on invading Iran". The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman reaffirmed on 06 January 2007 "Israel too prefers this issue to be resolved through diplomatic channels". The Prime Minister had also indicated on numerous occasions, that he believed nobody was preparing for war. That remained very firmly our position. There were signs that pressure on Iran was working - there was clearly a debate taking place within Tehran. We were not overstating that, we were not claiming that we had succeeded, as we had to see this in concrete terms through the UN, but the united resolve was beginning to bear in on Tehran. This was not the moment in any way to release that pressure.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Police Inquiry

Asked if there had been any contact from the police, the PMOS replied that there had been no contact with the Prime Minister from the police.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Misc

Asked if the Prime Minister would be attending the unveiling of Margaret Thatcher's statue, the PMOS replied that he did not know but would check.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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