Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with Nick Clegg that energy-generating companies were trying to blackmail the Government by appearing to be unwilling to fund socially beneficial schemes, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) said that there was a discussion taking place at the moment between Government and the energy companies; you would expect them to put out their position publicly while such talks were ongoing. We wanted to work cooperatively with the energy companies in order to find ways of helping people cope with rising fuel bills.
Asked to characterise the discussions between the Government and the energy companies, the PMS said that they were constructive.
Asked if that was an indication that the energy companies private and public positions were slightly different, the PMS said no; he was indicating that when there were discussions of this kind happening, it was not surprising that there were statements of that nature.
Asked to confirm that a windfall tax would not be ruled out at this stage, the PMS replied that, as we had been saying consistently, all options remained on the table.
Asked if putting the windfall tax option back on the table was a way of putting pressure on the energy companies, the PMS said no and that our position had not changed; we wanted to work in a constructive and cooperative way with the energy companies and no option would be ruled out.
Put that John Hutton was against a windfall tax, the PMS repeated that we wanted to work in a constructive and cooperative way with the energy companies and at this stage we ruled nothing out.
Asked if the Treasury opposed the idea of guarantees, the PMS said that once the Crosby Review had been published, the Government would give its response. The Treasury and the Bank of England were in very close contact about these matters, as you would expect.
Asked about the economic re-launch package and if there were any other sides to it apart from housing and fuel, the PMS said that the moment at which the Government comprehensively set out its economic policy, was in the Pre-Budget Report (PBR) and the Budget. That said, outside of the PBR and Budget cycle, it was not unusual for the Government to make other announcements. Yesterday we had set out a package of targeted measures to help those affected by what was happening in the housing market, but there would be more to come on housing once Crosby had reported. Our announcements on housing yesterday built on what we had previously done and there were sure to be further measures in the future. The moment at which it all came together was in the PBR and the Budget, but if there was more we could do in relation to particular groups or specific sectors, then that was something we would continue to take forward.
Asked if the Crosby report would be published the week of the Labour Party Conference, the PMS said that he did not know about the exact timings; it was expected in about a month.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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